The futility of blocking social media

Tuesday at Gartner’s Security and Risk Management Summit, research director Andrew Walls told attendees that although infosec pros may worry that social networking will lead to uncontrolled malware outbreaks, phishing, breaches of confidentiality and trade secrets, and even damage to the corporate reputation, trying to take control or even block its use is akin to monitoring employees’ home phone calls and rifling through their postal mail.

“All this message traffic is not in your infrastructure,” Walls said. “It all takes place out there in the cloud,” plus it can be accessed from anywhere, and users’ privacy settings can make monitoring nearly impossible. “At the root of it is staff productivity, and security isn’t responsible for monitoring and managing the productivity of the organization.”

Some believe social media represents a growing platform for malware distribution, but Walls countered that argument, noting that antimalware vendors he’s spoken with say social networks are being victimized by the same malware plaguing email and websites. “So if I’m going to block social media on the basis of malware distribution,” Walls asked hypothetically, “why not block email?”

via searchsecurity.techtarget.com

The article goes on at some length to chronicle Walls’ arguments against blocking social media in the workplace, even making a vital point that has been at the heart of my argument: Organizations will, he said, come to realize the value of hiring someone who possesses a vast social network. “The most valuable people,” he told the audience, “are going to be the ones who demand social media the most.”

The entire post is well worth your time particularly if you’re trying to make the case against blocking in your organization.

20 comments ↓

#1 Kelly on 06.28.10 at 7:40 am

As an IT consultant I am fully aware that IT management is struggling with whether social media is productive or obstructive for companies and their employees. Software is being developed and policy and restrictions are being decided everyday by IT managers. The security of company networks are at stake but the potential for innovation using social media is a large enough carrot for the discussion of how to properly utilize the medium continues. Palo Alto networks came up with a whitepaper, http://bit.ly/d2NZRp, which will explore the issues surrounding social media in the workplace. It is important to not only understand the immediate benefits of doing business how one lives, but the threat it presents to a company’s greater ROI and productivity when it comes to the server’s safety and security.

#2 Tweets that mention The futility of blocking social media — Stop Blocking! -- Topsy.com on 06.30.10 at 8:10 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Moore and Anatole Papadopoulos. Anatole Papadopoulos said: Can't access (irony!), though few sites blocked here. RT @nickcharney Timely IMO: The futility of blocking social media http://bit.ly/bbuLMM [...]

#3 mjboltz (Matt Boltz) on 06.30.10 at 2:22 pm

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RT @ShannonPaul: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post]

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#4 Buffalogal (Nicole Shoe) on 06.30.10 at 3:02 pm

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the futility of blocking social media…just in time for #smdayBuf [link to post]

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#5 RobertKCole (Robert Cole) on 06.30.10 at 3:04 pm

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RT @AmberCadabra: RT @ShannonPaul: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post]

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#6 OhioGrassman (Dale Ave-Lallemant) on 06.30.10 at 3:04 pm

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RT @mjboltz: RT @ShannonPaul: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post]

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#7 searlemike (Mike Searle) on 06.30.10 at 3:05 pm

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RT @unmarketing: RT @AmberCadabra: RT @ShannonPaul: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post]

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#8 zakmorris (Zak Morris) on 06.30.10 at 3:06 pm

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RT @thebrandbuilder: RT @ShannonPaul: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post]

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#9 MuphoricSounds (Vanessa Warren) on 06.30.10 at 3:07 pm

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Very interesting argument. RT @jfavreau: RT @ShannonPaul: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post]

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#10 FreedMaxickPR (Emily Burns) on 06.30.10 at 3:08 pm

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RT @Buffalogal: the futility of blocking social media…just in time for #smdayBuf [link to post]

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#11 melanie_ching (Melanie Ching) on 06.30.10 at 3:09 pm

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RT @nickcharney: Timely, IMO: “The futility of blocking social media” [link to post] #cpsr #in

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#12 melattree (Melissa Attree) on 06.30.10 at 4:01 pm

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The futility of blocking soc media “The most valuable ppl, are going to be the ones who demand social media the most.” [link to post]

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#13 christiansurchi (Christian Surchi) on 07.01.10 at 2:41 pm

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RT @socialmedia2day: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post] (RT @AmberCadabra: @ShannonPaul)

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#14 tweetmcg (lisa mcgrath) on 07.01.10 at 3:02 pm

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The futility of blocking social media. [link to post] (RT @ShannonPaul)

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#15 Justin_Hillier (Justin Hillier) on 07.01.10 at 3:03 pm

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The futility of blocking social media: [link to post] (RT @AmberCadabra: @ShannonPaul) (via @socialmedia2day)

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#16 pgillin (Paul Gillin) on 07.01.10 at 3:04 pm

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@socialmedia2day: The futility of blocking social media: [link to post] (RT @AmberCadabra: @ShannonPaul)

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#17 BrendaSomich (Brenda Somich) on 07.01.10 at 3:05 pm

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The futility of blocking social media: [link to post] (RT @AmberCadabra: @ShannonPaul)

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#18 Top German firms ban Facebook and Twitter | NevilleHobson.com on 10.25.10 at 8:27 am

[...] particular, Shel posted a highly-relevant article from a Gartner tech event in the summer that speaks directly to this latest blocking activity in Germany: [...] research director Andrew Walls told attendees that although infosec pros may worry that [...]

#19 bigspender on 02.02.11 at 10:36 am

Actually from my opinion, block facebook or other social medias in your home computer address, or office networking, could give benefit.

Especially for those with kids, I don’t think it is safe to let our children play and chat with someone he/she knows online.

I did try FBBlocker from http://www.fbblocker.com, it’s been 3 days and it seems work very well.

It

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