« Should your S corporations be in a holding company? | Main | The Right Way to Approach Customer Service »

Why corporations block social media sites: Security and productivity

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...Image by luc legay via Flickr

Recently, The Des Moines Register reported that the Iowa DOT (Department of Transportation) blocked the use of Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and other social media applications among its employees, citing security concerns.

So, how unsafe are social networks, anyway? In my opinion, social technology is no more or less safe that any online destination and function (Web sites, e-mail, et cetera).

As an individual user, there are many precautions you can take, including using a safe browser: Firefox and Chrome get high marks for their advanced safety features, while Internet Explorer is frequently full of holes and security exploits.

You should also have some form of security software on your desktop machine or laptop that scans for viruses, malware, spyware and phishing apps once every 24 hours.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, have some common sense. Don't click on anything that looks suspicious sent from someone you don't know, whether it comes to you in the form of an e-mail message, a tweet or a Facebook post.

Now, to the other issue, is the Iowa DOT really concerned about security issues, or is this a smokescreen to ensure that employees remain productive? I truly believe social networks (when used properly) can enhance a business or organization, and blocking them may simply result in missed opportunities.

Security and productivity should be addressed, in my view, with proper educational training, internal policies and employee culture. It's up to each individual company to talk to their employees about what goes and what doesn't go.

In the Iowa DOT's case, I'd recommend keeping these applications open for marketing and communications staff as a start. These are the people who will need to make use of social media tools and channels right now. Other employees, especially those on machines with access to sensitive data such as social security numbers, can remain closed-off and perhaps activated on an as-needed basis.

For a good analysis of what an internal social media usage policy might look like, here's a Mashable article on the topic including examples from Ford and Zappos.com.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Why corporations block social media sites: Security and productivity:


In my opinion, companies blocking access to communication tools is completely in their own interests, not for security reasons. But, having seen all of my co-workers play games on Facebook all day long I can see why a company would want to have the ability to block the access for productivity reasons.

The comments to this entry are closed.

« Should your S corporations be in a holding company? | Main | The Right Way to Approach Customer Service »

Technorati Bookmark: Why corporations block social media sites: Security and productivity

This site is intended for informational and conversational purposes, not to provide specific legal, investment, or tax advice.  Articles and opinions posted here are those of the author(s). Links to and from other sites are for informational purposes and are not an endorsement by this site’s sponsor.