Peer to Peer
Peer to Peer Popularized by Napster, P2P software lets users exchange music, files, moviespretty much anythingwithout a server sitting in between.Ruthlessly root out any programs exhibiting peer to peer-like behavior. Set your layer 4-7 switches (aka gateways) to inspect for peer-to-peer-like behavior. Users: If youre illegally downloading music and movies on the company dime, Ive got little sympathy for you. But there are some decent P2P applications that can help replicate key file folders and create shared workspaces. You can always plead ignorance if you get caught. Middle ground: There are some excellent and secure peer-to-peer systems out there that enable workflows that just arent possible otherwise. Groove, developed by Notes creator Ray Ozzie, has been successfully and securely used to aid the Iraqi redevelopment. Dont throw out the baby with the bath water. Social Networks The corporate version of online dating, these sites automate the concept of "six degrees of separation." Users upload their contacts and create a Web of connectionsallowing them to reach through their contacts to other potentially useful professionals. Does social networking lead to employees not working? Click here for a column on its impact at work. At best, they can help maintain and grow a network of colleagues. At worst, they become little more than online versions of the high-school cliques.
For more details, read my column on having too many fake friends.
IT: To protect against your users putting their company contacts up on outside Web sites, lock down access to the following domains: LinkedIN.com, Orkut.com, Friendster.com, Plaxo.com and Tribes.com. Or simply let users access only a handful of approved Web sites.
User: These sites can be usefulalthough Im hesitant about sharing my contacts with a third party. To hide your social networking, print out your contacts and connect up at home. Ive found LinkedIn Ltd. best for business.
Middle ground: Plaxo and LinkedIn can be very useful to help your employees stay connected and up to date. But before allowing your employees full rein, find out just how secure these systems really are.
The last thing you want is for the equivalent of your corporate phone book and sales-contact list to be exposed on the Internet for anyone to snag. But learn from these sites.
Perhaps you can set up some sort of social network for your customers or suppliers. Thats what we did, in fact, in our new version of our 1Up.com gaming site.
If you want to explore how a social network can bind your customers even closer to you, head over to our prototype.
Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging & Collaboration Center at http://messaging.eweek.com for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
IT: This means war! Anything that uses Napster-like technology must be bad. Again, here, lock down your PCs and notebooks. Create severe penalties for transgressors.