From The Editor | October 7, 2011

Social Media Is Major Security Risk Survey Reveals

Jay McCall casual

By Jay McCall, networking and managed services editor

A recent global study of 4,000 IT and IT security practitioners sponsored by Websense, a provider of unified web, email, and content security, revealed how much of a concern social media's threat really can be. I spoke with Tom Clare, senior director of product marketing at Websense, to get some perspective on the problem. "There are three primary pieces of evidence that resulted from the study," says Clare. "First, 52% of the respondents noticed an increase in malware as a direct result of allowing social media activity in the workplace. Second, 89% noticed diminished productivity; and third, 77% claimed that social media activity had a noticeable negative impact on network bandwidth."

There are two areas where VARs, integrators, and MSPs can capitalize on these findings. The first area is offering your customers real-time security solutions that can evaluate content on the fly and are designed for dynamic content, links, and payload changes. The next area channel companies can take advantage of these offerings is by helping their customers develop social media usage policies. "Policies should address everything from how much time employees are allowed to access social networks at work to bandwidth management, to coaching," says Clare. Websense offers a free social media guidelines tool, which can be accessed here. Additionally, the details of the Websense report can be accessed here.