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What your boss doesn’t want you to see …

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Employers don't want their workers downloading music or videos during office hours – but, surpisingly, they don't mind social networking sites like Facebook. 

McAfee has released findings that show the most popular websites and applications that IT managers in Europe are locking down access to. Music download sites (such as iTunes) and Internet dating sites come in at joint number one with over a third (36%) of companies blocking them, while almost a quarter (24%) put online music communities (such as Last FM) and video content sites (such as You Tube) as hot on their restriction list.
Surprisingly, despite widespread hype about their security dangers, only 21% block social networking sites (such as Facebook or MySpace).
Contrary to what workers might think, it is not because IT managers don’t want us whiling the day away on Facebook or updating our music catalogue on work time. IT managers believe these sites can spread viruses (57%) and encourage spam (54%). Ultimately, those polled believe they could have a significant financial risk, citing downtime and fraud as their top concerns should IT security be breached.
The survey reveals the technologies IT professionals rate as most dangerous; alongside music downloads and Internet dating they also see instant messenger (IM), social networking sites and web-based e-mail (such as Windows Live Hotmail, gmail) as the serious threats.
Unfortunately, due to the fact these sites are often used by the business to communicate it isn’t always realistic to block every technology.
The top five threats IT managers would like to block are:
* Music downloads – 58%;
* Internet dating   – 56%;
* Instant messenger – 53%;
* Social networking sites – 48%; and
* Web based email – 46%.
The top five threats that they actually do block are:
* Internet dating – 36%;
* Music downloads – 36%;
* Online music communities – 24%;
* Video content – 24%; and
* Online radio – 23%.
Chris van Niekerk, regional director: Africa at McAfee, comments: “The lines between work and play are blurring but that should never put a company at
risk. IT professionals have the difficult job of balancing the security needs of a business and the needs of the workforce. Putting fair usage policies in place and educating people on how to be safe on these sites is the most realistic option.”
The attitudes towards locking access to various technologies vary across Europe. Findings revealed Sweden as being the most lenient with 57% of IT professionals not limiting access for their employees. The UK came out as the strictest in Europe with just 28% not locking access.