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IT Managers Turned-off by Social Networking

IT Managers Turned-off by Social Networking

Galaxy Research shows Australian Enterprise IT Managers worried but 46 per cent still permit access to social networking sites

SYDNEY, Australia, 9 April 2008 – MessageLabs, the leading provider of messaging security and management services to businesses, today announced that a new report from Galaxy Research reveals 27 per cent of IT Managers in Australia and New Zealand are unaware of the threats posed by social networking sites; a route online criminals are increasingly exploiting to gain access into organisations.

Andrew Antal, Country Manager ANZ says: “These sites are among the most visited on the internet and the bad guys are looking for ways to take advantage of this wave of traffic. This research shows an alarming number of IT managers in Australia and New Zealand are behind the curve when it comes to the new wave of threats.”

He continued, “While people have become more aware of the traditional spam and phishing attacks, web-based threats are sneaking in, providing a new way for viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware to enter and damage the corporate network, placing information at risk.”

The research shows that although 73 per cent of respondents viewed social networking sites as moderate to high risk, 46 per cent are still permitting employees access to these sites.

MessageLabs intelligence drawn from its Australian client base shows of those clients who currently have an acceptable usage policy applied to MySpace, Facebook and Bebo social networking sites, 73% of policies are set as “Block and Log”, 19% “Allow Access and Log”, while 5% “Allow Access” and 5% “Block Access”

Around half (49 per cent) of Australian IT Managers consider software to be their core web security system. Somewhat fewer, 29 per cent depend mainly on an appliance system and 16 per cent rely on a managed service.

Antal said “Management is the key here and the use of a managed service can help to enforce a policy enterprise-wide with the minimum of fuss. While many people are aware of Social networking sites being both addictive and time-consuming, there is also a risk of data leakage and identity theft. In addition to this, employers may be identified and there is always the possibility of derogatory comments or disclosure of commercially sensitive information being made by an employee, which then becomes a permanent feature online.”


Other findings revealed:

  • 69 per cent of IT Managers view “loss of productivity” as the biggest problem with social networking sites while

  • 7 per cent see these as a threat to security

  • 8 per cent see these as an avenue for data leakage

  • 16 per cent see these as an avenue for identity theft

  • 34 per cent of IT Managers view inappropriate usage of the web by employees as the biggest threat to their security systems while

  • 33 per cent view the convergence and sophistication of threats as the biggest threat

Antal said “We recommend businesses instigate an acceptable usage policy to educate employees on the risks of social networking. Regular training and guidance on the correct use of email and internet at work are simple tactics that can be put into place.”

For organisations who are concerned about the decline in productivity and the threats posed through the use of social networking sites the MessageLabs web security service provides IT Managers with the flexibility to set and enforce acceptable usage policies for individuals or departments, restricting employee access to specific sites between certain hours of the day. While advanced scanning technology ensures threats are detected and infected pages blocked.

The MessageLabs web security service is backed by the industry's strongest SLAs.

About the research
The Galaxy survey commissioned by MessageLabs was conducted among IT Managers of large organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand. The minimum requirement was 500 employees with email access and within each of these organisations the interview was administered with the IT Manager with responsibility for systems security.

About MessageLabs
MessageLabs is a leading provider of integrated messaging and web security services, with over 17,000 clients ranging from small business to the Fortune 500 located in more than 86 countries. MessageLabs provides a range of managed security services to protect, control, encrypt and archive communications across Email, Web and Instant Messaging.
These services are delivered by MessageLabs globally distributed infrastructure and supported 24/7 by security experts. This provides a convenient and cost-effective solution for managing and reducing risk and providing certainty in the exchange of business information. For more information, please visit www.messagelabs.com.

ENDS

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