Should You Be Spending More Time at Work on Facebook?

A global survey by Internet content security firm Trend Micro finds that 24% of employees surveyed now visit social networking sites while on a corporate network, a marked increase over the 19% level measured in 2008. This finding comes at a time when businesses are increasingly using social networking for marketing while concurrently attempting to restrict employee’s personal use of these networks on company time.
1600 end users in the US, UK, Germany and Japan were polled. The highest surge of social networking on the corporate network during the last two years was found among end-users within the UK, who tallied a 6% increase, and Germany, with a more than 10% leap.
Except for 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, social networking usage via laptops went up by 8 percent from 2008 to 2010. In the US, it increased by 10% and in Germany, up by 14%.
Accessing social networking sites falls at about the middle of the pack of activities with security risks measured by the survey. The context implies that the employees were visiting the social networking sites for personal use, though it is less clear than the other listed activities that they were not on social sites for some business reasons. As Social Times recently reported, 40% of businesses globally have successfully leveraged social media tools.
“Social networking is an extremely important tool both for personal and professional-relationship building. And while most companies’ concerns around social networking in the office center around the loss of employee productivity, what they may not realize is that many social networking sites are built on interactive technologies that give cybercriminals endless opportunities to exploit end users, steal personal identities or business data, and corrupt corporate networks with malware,” said David Perry, global director of education, Trend Micro. The company’s Security Guide to Social Networks [pdf] examines the most common types of cybercriminal attacks through social networking sites, and gives recommendations on how businesses can keep their corporate networks safe from malicious activities.