Studies conducted over the last four years have shown that the usage of social media sites at the workplace has been steadily increasing. Unfortunately the use of these applications has been causing a lot of avoidable expenditure to companies.
FaceTime Communications has been conducting studies through NewDiligence, measuring the impact of social media. Employees at the companies surveyed responded by emphatically stating that they have a right to download whatever applications they choose, to help them do their job.
Employees in 60% of the companies considered under this study, were found to be using 8 or more applications from the social medium.
Frank Cabri, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at FaceTime says, “This year’s study reveals [that employees’] social media habits have extended into the workplace and may be contributing to security and data leakage incidents.”
51% of employees surveyed said they visit social media sites in relation to their work at least once a day. 73% of IT managers said they have to deal with at least one security incident, such as viruses, Trojans, worms or spyware due to the use of social media sites, amounting to about 34 such incidents per month.
Employees are also known to use the social media sites for personal purposes while at work. While LinkedIn is most commonly used social network for work, YouTube, Facebook and MySpace are frequently accessed for personal use.
It goes without saying that companies have to spend time and money to repair malware attacks and corporate data leaks caused by the use of Web 2.0 and social media applications by their employees. On an average it takes about 22 IT employee hours to repair one incident. At an average of $70 pay scale, this amounts to over $50,000 wasted per month. The cost involved for larger organisations is estimated to be in the range of $125,000 per month.
In 2008, 93% of all the companies surveyed had employees using social media applications, compared to 85% just a year ago. Surprisingly, only about 40% of the respondents claimed that they monitored and managed applications such as P2P communictions software, and only 25% of respondents bothered to secure Web 2.0 applications.
Needless to say, IT managers and employees are often at loggerheads with each other over the use of these social media sites.
Interestingly though, a couple of days after the FaceTime study was released, a study by Demos found that attempts to control employees’ use of such software could damage firms in the long run by limiting the way staff communicate. This could leave employers facing a conundrum – should they ban social networking in the workplace or not?