Network admins worry about employee use of social media

According to findings a survey of 353 network administrators by Amplitude Research, four-in-ten (40%) were either “extremely concerned” (18%) or “moderately concerned” (22%) with employee use of social media being a security threat to their company. Only 12% were “not at all concerned,” while 22% were “slightly concerned” and 26% “somewhat concerned.”

When asked in an open-ended manner, “What concerns you most about employee use of social media at your company?” network administrators mentioned viruses (22%), unproductive / time wasted (21%), security / intrusion risk (19%), data / information leaks (16%), privacy issues (7%), malware (5%), and bandwidth usage (4%).

This year’s survey found that nearly four-in-ten (39%) of the network administrators were “kept up at night” worrying about a security breach to their network in 2010, which was significantly higher than in 2009 (27%).

Those “moderately concerned” to “extremely concerned” with employee use of social media were more likely than others to be “kept up at night” worrying about a security breach to their network, their users, the next virus, and/or a security breach to their website. For example, among those “moderately” to “extremely” concerned with employee use of social media as a security threat to their organization, 50% were “kept awake at night” worrying about a security breach to their network.

In contrast, among those “slightly” to “somewhat” concerned about employee use of social media, 35% were “kept awake at night” by worrying about a security breach to their network. Among those “not at all concerned” about employee use of social media, only 16% lied awake at night worrying about a breach to their network.

More than one-third (37%) reported that their organization allows employees unlimited access to social media when using the company network. Nearly half (48%) allow employees “limited” access. This leaves only 15% of the organizations represented by network administrators in this survey where employees have no access to social media via the company network.

A new survey question in 2010 asked network administrators about “smart phones” and security threats to their company. Overall, 9% gave an “extremely important” rating and 32% gave a “very important” rating for managing the security of employee smart phones, as compared to other security threats facing their company.