Even though more companies are regulating social networking sites, employees are finding ways around security blocks, according to a new survey from Trend Micro.
The survey included 1,600 users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan, found globally social networking at work increased from 19 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2010. The highest increase in social networking in the workplace during the last two years was found among users in the U.K., which had a 6 percent increase, and Germany with a 10 percent increase.
"Social networking is an extremely important tool both for personal and professional-relationship building. And while most companies' concerns around social networking in the office center around the loss of employee productivity, what they may not realize is that many social networking sites are built on interactive technologies that give cybercriminals endless opportunities to exploit end users, steal personal identities or business data, and corrupt corporate networks with malware," said David Perry, global director of education, Trend Micro.
"With the right security solutions and social networking guidelines implemented, there is no reason why companies who choose to allow their employees the option of visiting these sites should be overly exposed to these risks."
Not including Japan, there were no major differences between users from small businesses and those from large companies, but the survey found laptop users are much more likely than desktop users to visit social networking sites. Globally, social networking usage via laptops went up by 8 percent from 2008 to 2010. In the U.S., it increased by 10 percent and in Germany, up by 14 percent.
In 2010, 29 percent of laptop users compared to 18 percent of desktop users surveyed said they visited these sites at work. In Japan for 2010, small-company employees were much more likely than those from large companies to visit social networking sites - 21 percent from small companies compared to 7 percent from large companies.
For all countries surveyed in 2010, laptop users who can connect to the Internet outside of company network are more likely to share confidential information via instant messaging, email and social media applications than those who are always connected to a company's network.