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Banning Social Networking a Bad Idea: Gartner

ST Team
Monday, November 2, 2009
ST Team
Many corporate houses have banned social networking websites, fearing security attacks and the distraction caused by such sites. But the latest report by Gartner says that it’s a bad idea to ban social networking in office. Carol Rozwell, Vice President, Gartner, argues that humans are social creatures and that there lies more to employee relations than a paycheck for work. “While a job may be regarded as an economic transaction, the human brain thinks of the workplace as a social system. Social networking can make employees feel valued, a part of a community, and earn the respect of peers,” she adds.

Gartner says that the employees should get used to a greater corporate presence in their social networking life. These social networking sites can reveal previously unknown influence and performance in employees for the companies, and they should tell employees that corporate conduct rules apply online also. “We can’t stop social networking, but harnessing the passion of employees and educating them about the responsibilities is essential,” says Rozwell.

Paul Proctor, Vice President of Gartner, argues that computing security is also changing. The IT security staff should think carefully before exercising a reflex to prevent employees from communicating with Facebook’s email or Skype’s Internet telephony. The companies should rationally evaluate the services like Gmail and decide whether the potential cost savings might well be worth the risks taken.

The software for intrusion detection, antivirus, and firewall protection are still essential, opines Proctor. But he also says that there are limits to what is practical. “You cannot protect yourself from everything. You must learn to balance risk and performance. The cloud and software-as-a-service have appeal, but they introduce a huge shift in how technology is managed and controlled,” he says.
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