Blocking access to Web 2.0 in workplace not viable

A report from Clearswift, the IT security vendor, claims that many firms now believe that shutting down social media access is detrimental, and that Web 2.0 and allied social technologies are critical to success for today's progressive businesses.

The global report shows how the use of Web 2.0 is critical for businesses to succeed in today's competitive markets – with 52% of companies saying that web collaboration tools, such as Salesforce.com or Facebook, are "critical" for the future success of the company.

The survey was conducted in January and February of this year with a total of 1629 managers/employees in the UK, USA, Germany and Australia polled. According to Clearswift, the research examined to what extent and how businesses are using Web 2.0 technologies across their organizations and with external audiences.

External audiences are an important driving force when it comes to the adoption of tools such as LinkedIn, Salesforce and Sharepoint, with 92% of respondents stating that the need to be "seen" as a company taking action and adapting to new situations was essential. The report asserts that Web 2.0 tools are not just essential from a corporate reputation point of view, they are also influencing how modern businesses operate.

Over 90% of companies believe that Web 2.0 technologies are useful in terms of increasing brand awareness; and 89% believe that Web 2.0 are essential to generate new business and supporting customer service.

Recruitment is another reason why firms use Web 2.0 services – over a third of organizations would look for knowledge and understanding of how these tools can be used for business benefit.

There's also an indication that employees are living their work and personal lives very much online, with over half of the managers surveyed for the report realizing that shutting down access to social media sites would be detrimental to employee motivation and productivity.

Despite all of this, there is still an element of uncertainty when it comes to social media – with 61% of employers naming security as their greatest concern.

Over a third of businesses have turned down business opportunities due to information security concerns. And 64% of companies agree that a new approach to security is needed in this era of web collaboration.

Richard Turner, Clearswift's chief executive, said that business take-up of Web 2.0 and collaboration technologies are on an upward curve. Progressive companies are taking advantage of these tools to allow innovation to thrive and to set themselves apart from the competition.

"We're seeing that where companies view security in a positive rather than fear-driven light, their employees have a greater grasp of its importance and the potential risks", he said.

"This leads to greater responsibility from staff and in turn a more successful impact in the Web 2.0 world", he added.

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