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Despite Security Worries, Human Resources Allows Social Media At Work

More than 60 percent of enterprises don't block Facebook, other sites; two-thirds don't monitor employee use
Human resources executives are worried about the possibility that the use of social networks at work might jeopardize security and productivity -- but not worried enough to block them, a new study says.

According to a survey of HR executivesconducted by Holos Research and commissioned by productivity measurement tool vendor MySammy, most personnel managers are turning a blind eye and allowing the use of Facebook and other sites at work, as well as the use of personal smartphones and handheld devices.

Some 38 percent of companies block the use of social networking sites at work, according to the survey. Of those, 77 percent cited potential security threats as an important reason, and 76 percent said they were concerned about potential harm to the company's brand. More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they are concerned about a loss of employee productivity.

While concerns about lost security and productivity were common, nearly two-thirds of respondents (62 percent) said they allow the use of social networks from the workplace. Of those, 65 percent said they have no way to monitor how much time users spend on such websites, and 86 percent say they have not specified any time limits on employee use of them.

Even among companies that block access to social networks, there appear to be plenty of opportunities for employees to circumvent such policies. Some 87 percent of HR professionals said they allow the use of personal smartphones at work -- although 58 percent of them are concerned that those devices may be used to access social networks.

"Social media will not be going away," the study says. "Companies need to be proactive in terms of setting clear guidelines for use of social media, and be clear in communicating the policies to their employees. Just as important, companies cannot be lulled into a false sense of security that simply blocking access to social media websites at work is the answer."

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