Century IT blog

Dangers of Employee Access to Social Networks

September 17th, 2012

Southampton City College - National Apprenticeship Scheme

Should Employees have access to social networking sites whilst at work?

 

This is a discussion document by Declan McWilliams as part of my I.T Apprenticeship (My LinkedIn Profile)

 

This document offers arguments on whether businesses should allow employees/staff to have access to social networking sites (for and against arguments)

 

Since about mid-2007 social networking has had a huge boom in popularity, leading us to a point now where if you were to approach anyone around you and ask if they have Facebook or Twitter, you’ll most likely get a “Yes!”

 

Dangers of Employee Access to Social Networks

 

Sites like Facebook and Twitter have grown and grown over the past few years and have proved to be both useful and troublesome websites, with people posting their every waking move to much more unkind and cruel posts mocking or insulting others. But Facebook can also be an enormous advertising tool, to the point that many posters and billboards and even television adverts are making a point to mention their Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

Should Employees have access to Social Network Sites

 

But should employees have access to these websites whilst at work?

 

Are there any benefits behind it?

Or will giving them access only prove to give wasted time and less completed work?

 

Social Networking for Business

There are of course two ways of looking at this, and, believe it or not, there are a number of advantages to allowing employees access to social networking sites.

 

Social networking can, as mentioned above, provide a huge amount of advertisement for a company and with over 1 billion users on Facebook, as well as over 500 million users on Twitter followed by a further 400+ million users on the recently started Google+, the chance of a huge worldwide audience can be guaranteed.

 

Purely business based social network LinkedIn also boasts a further 200 million users and for a company could prove a valuable tool to help build connections.

 

A further advantage to allowing social networking sites is that it is an easy and fast way for an employee to call out for help or ideas with something. A quick status update to Facebook or a tweet on Twitter and the user may receive the help they need.

 

The argument against this of course, is that an email system will provide this function just as well.

Dangers of Employee Access to Social Networks

There is of course many a disadvantage to allowing employees to access social networking sites.

 

The temptation to stay on one of these sites for longer than necessary is extremely high for many and it becomes all too easy to lose track of how long you’ve spent on one website. This of course means that the time spent on social networking sites, is time that could be spent on working. This point alone may make you think that blocking or banning access to social networks all together is the appropriate response.

 

However, you could also consider limiting the period of time that the site is blocked for. For example, the blocking system could be set to be lifted on social networking sites for an hour or less over the lunch period.

 

A very valid disadvantage to allowing social network access in the workplace is the possibility of a virus infection or the possibility of personal data being stolen.

 

Social networking sites have been targeted by hackers and scam artists simply because of such a huge number of people.

 

This of course should be a major concern for any company as this can cause sensitive information to be exposed, damaged or deleted. This can, for the most part, be solved with the installation of a network wide security system, but the risk is still there and is still very real.

 

If you like the idea of social networks, but still don’t want to allow access to the commonplace ones, there is an alternative social networking solution which may work within your business however, and that is an entirely internal one. Companies such as Noodle and Yammer can provide a solution which is entirely business related and only accessible by employees. This however may not suit the wishes of those employees that wish to talk with friends outside of the company within their break or lunch period.

 

Southampton City College - National Apprenticeship Scheme

Whether you block access to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter within your workplace is up to the employer at the end of the day. Just consider the pros and the cons before making a decision either w

ay, perhaps introducing policies regarding the use of social networking websites allowing limited usage of it.

 

Written by Declan McWilliams of Century IT Services

(My LinkedIn Profile)

 

Century IT Services are based in Totton, Southampton. Hampshire and can help you with the installation or on going I.T support of your computer, server and network. We offer a broad range of I.T services covering, internet, email, anti-spam, anti-virus solutions, we are experts in virtually anything Microsoft Server based and have extensive troubleshooting skills.

If you have an ever growing list of I.T niggles or need a server, or network installed, you have come to the right place. You can contact us on Tel. 023 80 070101 or email us at sales@century-it.co.uk for a confidential, no obligation discussion of your requirements.