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Survey Security pros restrict social media use
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (3/9/11)--More than half of Fortune 100 companies surveyed use Facebook and other social media to market and develop their business, but many also place restrictions on these tools because of security concerns, productivity concerns related to excessive use of bandwidth, and concern for data loss. These are concerns for credit unions, too, as more and more move deeper into social channels for outreach and marketing to attract younger members and market their services. A survey of 275 security professionals was conducted by Websense, a San Diego-based unified Web and e-mail security and data loss prevention solutions provider. Although 50% of those surveyed use social media, more than 45% said they restricted the tools out of security concerns, more than 40% did so out of productivity concerns, and more than 30% indicated concern for loss of data. More than 70% of today's threats occur on legitimate and popular websites and social Web properties, and more than 52% of malware is targeted at stealing confidential data, said the company. Malicious links are found often on popular Facebook pages, and cyber criminals can access easy kits for as little as $25 to add create malicious Facebook applications that can infect users and result in data theft. Nearly 40% of Facebook status updates have links and 10% of those links contain either spam or malware, according to other recent research by Websense. Part of the problem is that legacy solutions do not understand the actual content and data found on social media sites and cannot stop the threats such as malware, the company said. Legacy solutions like antivirus and firewalls manage social Web properties by making social networking sites static and unable to accept dynamic content. But taking away the dynamic nature of social media removes the core benefits of collaboration and networking, and turns information technology into a disabler of business potential, said the company. The company is working with its customers on technology to deal with threats and real-time content, including data in the social Web. Most other solutions turn off the social Web, remove its collaboration benefits and try to manage it in nonpractical and nonscalable ways, said Websense. Addison Avenue FCU, Palo Alto, Calif., is one credit union working with the solution. The credit union allows access to the social Web (SaaS and social networks) in a limited capacity. "Our marketing and e-commerce groups see dynamic social networking sites as a critical business function," said Phil Romero, senior security architect at the $2.4 billion asset credit union. "The Websense gateway is the kind of key component that gives us that visibility as to whether the activity being done is productive or a hindrance. My biggest security concern, being a financial institution, is the loss of data." Its alliance helps make sure "that the information that needs to stay within the organization stays within the organization and doesn't get out there by accident or exploit."


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