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Neil Davey

Spotted Zebra

Senior Content Manager

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Employers getting more relaxed about staff social media usage


The number of large organisations planning to block employees’ access to social media is continuing to drop as corporate attitudes towards social networks become more relaxed, according to Gartner.

New research by the analyst organisation indicated that less than 30% of large firms intend to prevent staff from accessing social network sites by 2014 compared with 50% in 2010, with the number of organisations instituting a ban dropping by around 10% a year.
Andrew Walls, a research vice president at Gartner, said: “Even in those organisations that block all access to social media, blocks tend not to be complete. Certain departments and processes such as marketing require access to external social media, and employees can circumvent blocks by using personal devices such as smartphones. Organisations need now to turn their attention to the impacts of social media on identity and access management.”
Because public social media environments such as Facebook include mechanisms that collect, process, share and store more identity data than corporate IAM systems, the identity information that they hold about individuals is more complete. 
This situation poses both a threat and an opportunity as, on the one hand, social media can expose organisations and users to security threats but, on the other, firms can use the data to improve support for their own identity-based practises, said Gartner.

It added that social media would have three important effects on identity management:

  • Personal trust that is not aligned with corporate trust: Employees using social media make decisions about the degree of trust that they place in the systems, but these judgements may not align with corporate expectations relating to risk management, resulting in behaviour that may violate corporate policy.
  • Public content can be used to analyse staff identity information: The collection of data by public social networking sites on a massive scale enables them to have access to and analyse huge amounts of identity information. As a result, organisations should establish the user profiles employed by staff in order to harvest data about them.
  • Identity data can be used to enable application access: IAM initiatives can use social media to verify employees’ identity and enable them to access internal and external applications via a semi-trusted social platform.

Walls added: “Organisations should not ignore social media and social identity. We recommend that organisations ascertain how they currently use internal and external social media in both official and unofficial ways, and look for dissonance between IAM practices and the identity needs, opportunities and risks of social media.”

One Response

  1. great post

    I think organisations are taking this issue more seriously now because pf the ramifcations it can have on brand identity and reputation as much as productivity in the workplace. A lot of companies are implementing basic training on the do's and don't of social media usage in the workplace because it is generally accepted now to be something that everybody uses almost all of the time.

    Richard Lane, director at durhamlane

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Neil Davey

Senior Content Manager

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