A third of UK companies are anti-social network

Social networks

Almost a third of companies in the UK are either discouraging or blocking workers from social networks, research has suggested.

Of all the UK-based employees surveyed by security firm Clearswift, 29 per cent said their companies were clamping down on social media use.

Only half of managers in the UK were found to trust employees' use of sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

This was at odds with widespread recognition of the importance of social media to a business. Nearly a third of respondents said their company was planning to invest more in social media this year than last, whilst 48 per cent said their employer thought the benefits of social media outweighed the drawbacks.

It's clear that we have seen some significant changes in attitude to social media in the last twelve months.

German and Australian companies were found to be blocking social media sites more than firms from other nations.

Compared to last year's survey, Clearswift said the results showed how companies' fear over social networks had noticeably increased due to high-profile security incidents.

"It's clear that we have seen some significant changes in attitude to social media in the last twelve months," said Andrew Wyatt, chief operating officer at Clearswift.

"Businesses have reacted to the series of high profile data leaks and have become increasingly nervous about its usage in the workplace."

There are plenty of ways IT departments can help ensure social media use does not damage a business. Technologies that can control how much workers see on certain sites, such as the Overtis VigilancePro Web Application Manager reported on earlier this year, could help ease C-level concerns.

"We need these types of social networks as they are an valuable tool to communicate and market products and services to your audience as a business, however it is important to have a strict policy is set in place to ensure no confidential company information is put at risk," said Ash Patel, country manager for UK and Ireland at Stonesoft.

"Employers can ensure this by implementing security solutions such as Firewall and IPS appliances and by making sure that all traffic entering and exiting the network is closely monitored at all times."

Read on for our top 10 social networking tips for enterprise.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.