Mailbag: CIOs and IT Managers Sound Off About Banning Facebook At Work

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Chris,

I find that as a smaller company you generally don’ have policies in

Place. However, as a business grows into more of a corporate standing, one needs to have policies and procedures in place to protect not only the company interests but also the end user. People in the marketing area might be allowed full access to social networking websites for marketing related purposes. Other companies such as data aggregators in fields that don’t involve social groups should probably not be spending their working time socialising as this cuts into the time spent aggregating data but, this is not to say that people should not socialise. I think the fundamental issue is that Facebook allows you to socialise with far MORE people than what has traditionally been available and subsequently this can lead to more socialising and less work.

To address the question 'Should you ban Facebook at work,’ one needs to implement an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that indicates what is and is not considered acceptable use of the systems i.e. is it acceptable to access social/video/audio or flash game websites during office hours? Keep in mind that in some environments where bandwidth is not shaped/controlled, 20 people streaming video and audio or loading Facebook apps can have an effect on the rest of the companies Internet speed. If it is found that the AUP is not being followed one can apply automated Access Control Lists (ACLs) at the firewall level which can go so far as to regulate access to specified websites between certain times either at a user or global level, for example one can program a firewall to automatically apply access rules that grants access to Facebook only during lunch times.

In short, I don’t think Facebook needs to be banned out-right but there is a level of control that should to be in place.

I hope this sheds some insight into your research.

Regards

Rhys

Chris,

We do not currently ban Facebook at work. And, it has not been

discussed.However, being a member-based organization, we do recommend members not post anything they would not want to be seen by the public. For example, pictures of them intoxicated, etc.

Jay Hall, Manager of Information Services

Missouri NEA

Chris,

We, at Savers, Inc. (www.savers.com) block access to Facebook, along with MySpace. However, we allow access to LinkedIn and Plaxo. The theory being that LinkedIn and Plaxo offer distinct business benefits, without most of the social-networking site risks in the workplace, while Facebook and MySpace do not.

Steve Wales

Manager, Enterprise Systems

Savers, Inc.

Chris,

We have limited by time the use of Facebook and other social networking sites. Users can use these sites for 60 minutes per day. We use Websense that allows for this. 6 times, 10 minutes slots.

>This way we allow the usage but control the people that spend all day in Facebook. However Facebook is the 4 most accessed site in my organization.

Regards.

Nuno Borges

Director of Infrastructure

De La Rue

Chris,

Bans are generally counterproductive.

We use Websense to “guide” users on our network as far as Internet activity. Social networking sites are limited but not prohibited and this policy seems to strike a fair balance between the need to keep users happy and the need to keep senior officers of the company happy.

Good luck with your article.

Trevor L Snyder

Senior IT Administrator, EMJ Corp.

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