INTOUCH : IT Managers Turned-off by Social Networking

Over quarter of IT managers here and across the ditch are unaware of the threats posed by social networking sites; route online criminals are increasingly exploiting to gain access into organisations. That’s according to report from MessageLabs, leading provider of messaging security and management services to businesses.
Andrew Antal, MessageLab country manager for Australia and New Zealand, says social networking sites are among the most visited on the internet and given that the bad guys are looking for ways to take advantage of this wave of traffic, the research shows an alarming number of IT managers are behind the curve when it comes to the new wave of threats.
“While people have become more aware of the traditional spam and phishing attacks, web-based threats are sneaking in, providing new way for viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware to enter and damage the corporate network, placing information at risk,” Antal says.
The research shows that although 73 percent of respondents viewed social networking sites as moderate to high risk, 46 percent are still permitting employees access to these sites.
Other findings included:
• 69 percent of IT managers view “loss of productivity” as the biggest problem with social networking sites.
• Seven percent see them as threat to security.
• Eight percent see them as an avenue for data leakage.
• 16 percent see them as an avenue for identity theft.
• 34 percent of IT managers view inappropriate usage of the web by employees as the biggest threat to their security systems.
• 33 percent view the convergence and sophistication of threats as the biggest threat.
Antal said, “We recommend businesses instigate an acceptable usage policy to educate employees on the risks of social networking. Regular training and guidance on the correct use of email and internet at work are simple tactics that can be put into place.”
The report was conducted among IT managers of large organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand. The minimum requirement was 500 employees with email access and within each of these organisations the interview was administered with the IT manager with responsibility for systems security.

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