Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 Aug 2011

INFOTECH: Allowing Access to Social Media


Recent Gauteng Business News

Many businesses are allowing access to social media as it has become a common place tool in the modern business. The modern IT and communications landscape has evolved dramatically over the years, with Web 2.0 applications, cloud based services, Software as a Service (SaaS) also very important with many modern businesses. Social media in particular has revolutionised the way people interact, with media such as Instant Messaging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others dominating Internet usage today, according to Dominique Honnay, Director of EMEA Distributors, SonicWALL

Blocking these applications and websites in the workplace is simply no longer an option, since they have become a strong communication tool and denying employees access to them can remove an important competitive advantage. For the younger generation too, these media have become their primary means of communication and removing them could also cause loss of productivity.

The Threat of Allowing Access to Social Media

However this poses a challenge for IT professionals in terms of allowing access to social media, while still adequately protecting the network from a growing number of threats and ensuring controlled bandwidth usage for these often intensive applications.

This challenge is compounded by an ever increasing number of devices that provide internet access, including smartphones and tablet PCs which are not necessarily issued or managed by the IT department. Allowing these devices to access corporate networks and email services is part of empowering employees and the enterprise, but again can open the organisation up to a number of threats, increasing the complexity of network security.

The threat landscape too has changed and cybercrime has become a multi-billion dollar industry across the world. Malware has become increasingly sophisticated as web based applications become more commonplace, and threats now attack mobile devices and alternate operating systems and are evolving at the application layer itself. Viruses and malware are spread more readily than ever before, and it is vital to ensure that corporate networks are adequately protected. This includes protecting the endpoints themselves, including mobile devices, and having security policies in place to manage them.

Allowing Access to Social Media Is Important for Business Success

With technology evolution it is now vital to not only inspect external incoming traffic for malware, but also internal traffic between various devices. Allowing access to social media, new media forms and Web 2.0 sites is important for business success, but it needs to be controlled and activities restricted to ensure that bandwidth consumption is regulated and the organisation is not compromised.

The reality is that a standard firewall no longer offers the right protection. The old firewall generation cannot protect the organisation anymore, as this technology was designed for a mode of internet and network usage that has become drastically outdated. Next generation firewall technology is a vital weapon in the IT professional's arsenal, this is where it will become important as they look to maintain the levels of security while allowing access to social media.


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