The many charms of Facebook

The many charms of Facebook

Pete Simpson looks at how the channel can turn the social networking boom into a reselling opportunity

Over recent months, social networking sites have increased in popularity, yet it seems there is a growing corporate backlash against them. More and more companies are banning the use of sites such as Facebook, causing employees to complain about lack of trust.

Social networking has become a valid way of conversing not just with friends, but with colleagues, customers and business prospects. Resellers have an opportunity to educate customers, ease concerns and generate revenues from the Facebook phenomenon.

Businesses are concerned that these sites affect employee productivity, but one solution is to set
policies that allow users access to specific sites at certain times, for instance, during lunch breaks.
Another business concern is that employees may leak confidential company information through social networking sites, either accidentally or intentionally. This is particularly pertinent in light of recent high-profile data breaches. However, preventing data leakage through banning the use of social networking sites is not the solution.

Content security solutions allow organisations to set up and enforce specific filtering policies. Employers can check all outbound web content for confidential information ­ whether it is on a social networking site, a blog or in a web mail message.

Any content that is sensitive or deemed inappropriate will be blocked, enabling companies to keep a tight grip on what gets into the public domain and allowing employees to embrace the business benefits of such sites.

Organisations that ban social networking sites deny their employees access to potential business benefits and make themselves look out of touch and old fashioned.

In this Web 2.0 age when employers are blogging and company web sites are becoming more interactive, it makes good business sense for employees to be allowed access to such sites.