Designated computer terminals
Allowing employees to access social media sites on computer terminals that are on a separate server from the one that houses the organization’s confidential data will protect an organization from external attacks through social media. But employees may complain they don’t have time to access social media sites because there’s a line of employees waiting to use the terminals. Some employees only need to access a social media site for one or two minutes at a time, often less time than it takes to walk over to a terminal. To avoid the wait and lost time, employees might use mobile devices or attempt to work around the blocks on their personal computers to access social media when and where they want.
- Less risk to company servers but hackers still have access to users’ personal information through their social networks.
- Full access to social media websites for all employees.
- Employees will still use mobile devices to access social media to avoid long waits for terminals and management scrutiny.
- Increased pressure from employees to allow social media on personal computers.
- Might hinder productivity due to lineups at terminals or time limits on use, especially for employees who need frequent access to these sites for marketing, sales or Social HR purposes.
I recommend this strategy only for those organizations that truly believe their employees would abuse their privileges if they were allowed to use social media on their personal work computers. Social media is quickly becoming an important communication tool and will one day rival the telephone in use. Imagine if an organization took away employees’ phones and set up phone stations they had to share with other employees. The drain on productivity would be astounding.
Allowing all social media websites
For those organizations that trust employees’ ability to deliver on tasks, even if they watch the occasional funny YouTube video or check on a friend’s Facebook status while at work, allowing all social media websites can increase productivity, show employees you have faith in them and introduce a new means of communication into the workplace.
- Allows employees to communicate freely with internal and external stakeholders.
- Decreased internal security breaches because employees aren’t trying to hack their way around corporate website controls.
- Allows the organization to use brainstorming methods such as crowdsourcing, which will spur innovation.
- Allows employees to maintain better work-life balance by allowing them to stay in touch with their personal connections.
- Employees won’t have to use mobile devices at work to access social media sites.
- Increased security risks to the organization’s server.
- Increased risk of employees releasing confidential information on social networks, however, blocking social media in the workplace doesn’t mitigate this risk as employees could still reveal confidential information during their personal time.
Ultimately, enabling social media websites increases an organization’s exposure to risk. But the real question is do the benefits of social media outweigh the risks? While there will always be concerns about brand management, the release of confidential information and the potential of security breaches, the negative effect of social media on productivity has been over-exaggerated. In the end, an organization will have to weigh the pros and cons of social media and make a decision based on employee and customer demographics, as well as the nature of the industry. But as social media becomes more prevalent, the risk to all organizations of not using these websites will begin to outweigh any potential risk of using them.