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Social networking in safety with Unified Security Gateway

FaceTime Communications : 22 April, 2008  (New Product)
In response to increased levels of social network usage in businesses, FaceTime releases additional functionality that enables IT Managers to control usage of such sites.
FaceTime Communications is providing additional capabilities to its Unified Security Gateway (USG) in response to the rapid growth in the use of social networking sites and Web 2.0 applications in the workplace. FaceTime highlights that the availability of customised social networking pages with platforms such as Facebook being opened up to third party developers, combined with the increasing use of real time applications such as instant messaging and more complex malware, has made URL filtering alone insufficient for securing the Web gateway.

In addition to USGs URL filtering, anti-malware and IM and P2P control and management capabilities, it will now provide IT managers with management, security and control over 140 social networking sites, 20,000 individual Facebook widgets and more than 400 Web and real-time applications. Research conducted by FaceTime last month shows that 60 percent of IT managers are more concerned about the use of social networking in the enterprise, than are concerned with email use.

"Whether companies like it or not, sites such as Facebook and MySpace are here to stay and their use in the workplace will only increase," comments Nick Sears, VP EMEA FaceTime Communications. "Although productivity, alongside security is undoubtedly an issue, business analysts even recognise the collaboration value that these sites and applications can bring to an organisation. Finding the right balance of control and security will be key to their success as a business tool and apparently attracting staff too."

According to a recent survey by international law firm Deacons a quarter of 16 to 24 year olds would be influenced by the company's social networking policy when choosing an employer. This sentiment is backed-up in the March 2008 Gartner, Inc. report "Social-Networking Sites Present Real Business Risks and Benefits," where Peter Firstbrook says, "There are corporate advantages to allowing social-networking sites, the most compelling of which are attracting employees and providing a progressive work environment." Firstbrook recommends that "organisations should only block social-networking sites after conducting a careful analysis of the risks and benefits."

FaceTime has published detailed information on social networking and Web 2.0 applications on its public resource database. In addition to Facebook applications, the site references more than 800 Greynets in categories including gaming software, IPTV, Instant Messaging, P2P, multimedia, VoIP, social networking, Web Conferencing, Web-based email and remote administration tools. This information is used to help IT managers determine which applications to block, which to enable and which to monitor using FaceTime's USG secure Web gateway appliance.

Granular control of social networking is part FaceTime's Unified Security Gateway appliance, available now from FaceTime and its authorised resellers worldwide. Pricing for the USG starts at £3,200.
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