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companiestest increasingly blocking social networking access

ScanSafe : 20 August, 2009  (Technical Article)
Web filtering company sees noticeable increase in the number of social networking sites appearing in the block lists of companies wanting to prevent their employees from using them
ScanSafe has revealed its latest data showing that employers are gradually tightening the reins on which websites their staff can view and are increasingly choosing to block access to popular social networking sites.

"When Web filtering first became an option for companies we generally saw them block access to typical categories such as pornography, illegal activities and hate and discrimination," comments Spencer Parker, director of product management at ScanSafe. "In recent months, employers are obviously wising up to the dangers and negative impact on productivity linked to certain sites and more and more of our customers have chosen to block social networking, online banking and Webmail."

An analysis of more than a billion Web requests processed by the company each month confirms a 20% increase in the number of customers blocking social networking sites in the last six months. Currently, 76% of companies are choosing to block social networking and it is now a more popular category to block than online shopping (52%), weapons (75%), alcohol (64%), sports (51%) and Webmail (58%). Surprisingly, employers don't take the same stern approach to online banking and less than half (47%) of our customers block this category.

ScanSafe specifically found an increase in the number of customers choosing to block the below categories in the last 6 months.

• 28% increase in travel
• 27% increase in restaurants and bars
• 26% increase in sports
• 26% increase in online shopping
• 19% increase in Job Searches
• 16% increase in Webmail

In economic times like these, having a productive workforce is more important than ever and companies are now often expecting employees to work harder for less. Restricting access to non-work related sites could be a way to encourage this much needed productivity.

"Social networking sites can expose businesses to malware and if not used for business purposes can be a drain on productivity and bandwidth," says Parker. "Given the option, companies are increasingly taking a sterner approach to the sites that their employees are allowed to access. I imagine before long, social networking will be up there with pornography in terms of categories blocked."

ScanSafe Web Filtering provides control over how employees use the Internet. It provides easy-to-use tools to create, enforce and monitor company Web usage policies. Using the most accurate categorisation databases, Web Filtering helps manage the firm's Internet traffic, protecting the network and staff from undesirable Web content.
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