Now more than ever, business and security teams need to align their business priorities. Case in point, highlighted by two recent articles on social networking use in the business world. The first article, published in eWeek UK, states that most CIOs are blocking (or trying to block) social networking sites.
http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/cios-frown-on-social-networking-at-work-2007 http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10014107o-114626b,00.htm https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.aspx http://www.aiim.org/
In response to the eWeek article, this author raises the case that if there are business benefits to be derived in the use of social networking, then it should be allowed.
We could not agree more. Although we would add the caveat that they should be allowed provided that regulatory policies remain in tact and are adhered to. The position of summarily blocking a new or unknown application is unreasonable and in some cases, could be career limiting. Imagine that the CIO blocks the CEO’s favorite application.
Looking specifically at social networking users, most of them are in the 35 and under age group. The fastest growing group of users are those who are over 35. Currently, there are at least 30 social networking applications http://www.paloaltonetworks.com/applipedia/ available to end users with FaceBook as the most dominant. 315 MILLION users.
What does this mean? It means that theses users will be in the workforce for many years to come and they are accustomed to using these applications whenever they want. So it makes sense to figure out a social media strategy that benefits employees and the company itself. Two reports from AIIM and McKinsey both highlight the fact that social networking, and the other web 2.0/enterprise 2.0 applications are indeed resulting in measurable benefits. If they are spending too much time on these applications, then perhaps it is a personnel issue – not an application issue.
Now more than ever. It’s time to fix the firewall.