Network Security, Threat Management

Survey: Social networks increasingly blocked

Companies are increasingly blocking access to social networking sites, according to a new survey.

The tightening rein on social networking access showed up in a survey by ScanSafe, which found a 20 percent increase in the number of companies that blocked social networking sites during the past six months among their client base. That brought the total to 76 percent of companies blocking such services.

The study involved more than a billion web requests processed by the company each month, and showed that access is changing with the trends of web usage, according to Mark Guntrip, senior product marketing manager at ScanSafe.

“With the hype that social networking has had over the years, as well as the more recent threats, it's little wonder the trend is up,” he told on Wednesday. “It's seen as a security drain along with being a productivity drain.”

Of course, the trend varies with geography, vertical market and the customer, he said.

Some companies are worried that they could lose their competitive edge, and would like to keep their workforce focused on their jobs. But social networking could be a good thing depending on the circumstances, Guntrip said. A consumer goods company, for example, can use a social networking site to enhance customer recognition.

“But if you're in manufacturing, people on the manufacturing floor do not necessarily need to use social networks,” Guntrip said. “It's best to define which groups need access and which do not, and make sure that groups that do not need access are focused on other things.”

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