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Web 2.0 Security in Focus at 360 IT Event

360 IT : 22 February, 2010  (Technical Article)
The IT Infrastructure Event to be held later this year will provide insights into the threats posed by social networking and Web 2.0, threats which are likely to gain higher profile during 2010
See our events guide listing for more details

Planning is are now well under way for the first 360°IT - The IT Infrastructure Event, due to take place at London's Earls Court this coming September. And, says, Natalie Booth, the Event Director, even at this early stage, it is clear that Web 2.0 services - and in particular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter - are becoming a new battleground between criminal hackers and Internet using businesses.

'If you look at all the research into workplace use of the Internet, and the threats it poses, the topic of social networking comes up time and time again, mainly because of the volume of malware infections and data leakages that accrue from staff using these services,' she said.

'But the real battle has yet to come, as there are signs that conventional IT security may not be enough to defend against the diverse vagaries of social networking sites,' she added.

Earlier this week, Ray Stanton, BT's global head of security, gave a security show keynote at which he said that many companies have been struggling with social networking sites, but that the problem had spilled beyond the IT department and over into human resources.

The problem identified by Stanton, says Booth, is that staff productivity is now under threat as a result of employees spending too much time interacting on the Internet, and not enough time doing their daytime jobs.

According to Booth, the scale of the problem has yet to break into the mainstream, as few employees are yet aware that their staff productivity is being eroded by staff - quite literally - whiling away the hours in the office on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Ray Stanton correctly identified that, although the task of securing staff access to social networking sites and services isn't an easy one, but it can be achieved, she explained.

But the real problem, Booth went on to say, is that there is a danger of the productivity issue jurisdiction falling between the IT and human resources departments, when, in fact, it should be a boardroom and senior management issue.

'Just as staff need to be disciplined if they are found to be wasting company time with inappropriate behaviour, so inappropriate or excessive social network site usage needs to be added to the list of possible disciplinary offences,' she added.

'It's against this backdrop that we expect social networking site usage to become a major talking point as the months count down to 360°IT - The IT Infrastructure Event in September. Web 2.0 services bring a lot to the better business table, but they also pose a potential serious company risk, and not just on the security level,' she added.

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