Trend Micro reports global rise in social networking at work

According to Trend Micro, the sponsor of the survey, which took in responses from 1600 people, social networking at the workplace has steadily risen from 19% in 2008 to 24% in 2010.

The survey reveals that the highest surge of social networking on the corporate network during the last two years was found among end users within the UK, who returned a 6% increase, and Germany, with a more than 10% leap in numbers.

With the exception of Japan, there were no significant differences between end users from small businesses and those from large corporations, but the survey found that laptop users are much more likely than desktop users to visit social networking sites.

Globally, says Trend Micro, social networking usage via laptops went up by 8% from 2008 to 2010. In the US it increased by 10% and in Germany, up by 14%

For all countries surveyed in 2010, laptop users who can connect to the internet outside of the company network are more likely to share confidential information via instant messenger, webmail and social media applications than those who are always connected to a company's network.

The survey report makes the interesting assertion that trying to prevent users accessing social networks from work could potentially increase the risk to an organisation as users look for ways around their firm's computer security – possibly increasing the chance of exposure to security threats.

There are a wide range of security considerations around social networking; hijacked accounts, posting of confidential information, accidental brand damage, the ever increasing popularity of Web 2.0 as an infection vector, shared passwords for shared accounts.

Blanket bans on social networking, it claims, will only serve to spur employees into creative ways around your roadblock, perhaps by using risky 'anonymous' proxies.

Bottom line? Make sure your security policies and technologies take this into account, says Trend.

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