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Finding the Right Balance: Web Security vs Web Access in the Workplace

Surendra Singh
Friday, July 31, 2009
Surendra Singh
More and more businesses are starting to use Web 2.0, i.e. those sites with dynamic or user generated content. In fact, a recent Websense survey found that 95 percent of businesses already allow access to some Web 2.0 sites and applications in the workplace. The same survey also revealed that 75 percent of IT managers felt pressured to allow more access to more types of Web 2.0 technology. So, it’s clear that simply blocking access is no longer an option.

It used to be commonplace for businesses to block sites or lock down access entirely, believing that the freedom to check personal email or visit a favorite site to catch up on news or gossip meant a less productive employee. It is this conservative mindset that has made the adoption rate of Web 2.0 in Europe significantly behind that of the United States. Not only is that attitude actually counterproductive, the idea of productivity slipping due to more open access to the Web is a red herring. 37 percent of IT managers admit that their users try to bypass their company's security policies anyway. So, a happy 10 minutes checking email is clearly better than spending hours working out how to bypass the system.

Encouraging Productivity, Helping the Business

The workplace today is significantly different to how it was 5-6, or even 2-3 years ago. The lines between work and play have blurred, and a happy employee is a productive one and is seen as a key to success. This is especially the case in the current economic climate as workers are being asked to contribute more towards productivity for less in return.

57 percent of IT managers believe that Web 2.0 is not just a 'nice to have' but 'must have' to their business. With Web 2.0, companies can interact with their customers in a better manner, employees are encouraged to exchange ideas with one another more cohesively, and telecommuting employees can also benefit from it.

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