Saturday, May 23, 2009

Web 2.0 - The Security Challenges
by Gerald Trites

Web 2.0 applications, like facebook, twitter, blogs, wikis and the like have been infiltrating into corporate systems, much to the dismay of the security administrators. Conflict between content availability and security is an old issue, but Web 2.0 has brought a whole new meaning to the difficulties being faced by the administrators.

One of the issues is that facebook originated as a medium of personal interaction. It was never intended for, nor initially used as, a means of business interaction. So one of the trends happening is that there is a growing mixture of personal and business life in the use of social media at work. This of course also concerns the employers.

But it's a trend that one can find in many areas of modern life and points to a deeper issue. The lines between personal and business life are becoming increasingly blurred. People work at home and at the office. They text personal messages during the day and it doesn't matter whether they are supposed to be working or not. There are new management issues here for employers, and new management techniques are required.

From a security point of view, administrators are facing a losing battle in many respects. They cannot stop the incursion of social media into the office. Nor can they really control the content. They could, perhaps, but the cost would be very high, both financially and in terms of employee morale and pushback. The development of specific business oriented applications could help, but would not necessarily gain acceptance. It's a scenario that is yet to play out to a conclusion.

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