A story I published nearly three weeks ago about the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social applications in the workplace has taken on new life from readers who responded passionately for and against the issue.
In the report, Gartner analysts Anthony Bradley and Nikos Drakos argued that social apps be allowed in enterprises with the caveat that businesses craft a "trust model," concerning reasonable use of Facebook, YouTube and other fun-filled communication and media programs.
The responses ranged from revelations from readers who said their employers banned Facebook after people revealed proprietary information on the social network, to security admins who offered advice on how to protect corporate sites while using Facebook, to related but spirited debates about whether humans can truly multitask.
One anonymous reader wrote:
Another noted: "you work for the company, not for yourself," noting that it is a privilege, not a right, to have instant messaging, Facebook and other such apps.
WT disagreed with this position, noting that while social apps can be abused in the enterprise, we need to reprimand the abuser, not the app. In short, it's a sort of "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" argument. WT wrote:
Yes, FB and other sites can be abused. Accountability is the answer not banning. Educate your employees and make them happy and proud to work for the company. Then they will behave accordingly. There will always be bad apples. Deal with them, not make unnecessary blanket policies.
I presume that WT does not disagree with the trust model Gartner proposes, where employers and employees agree on a fair use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al. But I agree with the position that you don't turn fascist on your workers and ban such apps across the board.
Donthesecuritywonk, as his username suggests, plays the security card, noting that the problem with these sites going to business desktops is the frequent introduction of malicious code that not only wastes company time and resources implementing repairs, but may put the entire company at risk by exposing critical data. He adds:
These sites are a magnet to malefactors who know that all they need is some intriguing or salacious content to get you to run the multimedia on your desktop and then use the viewer vulnerabilities to do most anything they want including a root kit to use the desktop as a base to attack the system.