Companies are often faced with tough decisions regarding policies on social networking use in the workplace. For many companies, social networking is becoming an essential component of business. From online marketing to supporting clients and interacting with prospective customers, social networking is a valuable tool for businesses small and large. To the contrary, social networking can be a distraction and time wasting activity for those who do not use it for business purposes.
The use of social networking for personal purposes while at work leads to decreased productivity. In addition, posting confidential company information or inappropriate content in the workplace can expose companies to risks such as non-compliance, data loss, and legal issues.
With new, granular controls over who uses Facebook within an organization and for what purposes, administrators can now implement “read-only” Facebook policies in the workplace using next-generation firewalls from Palo Alto Networks.
This kind of control over the use of Facebook enables specific functions for employees that need it for their jobs, while limiting its functionality for other workers who use it primarily for personal reasons. Admins can enable or disable specific Facebook functions including: general access to Facebook, Wall Posting, Chat, Messages/Mail, Apps, and Social Plug-ins. In addition, permitted traffic can be scanned for threats or confidentiality.
IT administrators can control Facebook access and features by user, group, content or even time of day. As a result, IT security managers are better equipped to prevent leaks of corporate data, improve worker productivity, and reduce security threats such as malware and viruses that increasingly use Facebook and other applications to invade systems.
“Our message to IT professionals is ‘yes, you can,'” said Rene Bonvanie, vice president of worldwide marketing, Palo Alto Networks. “Yes, you can safely enable applications like Facebook in your workplace. Yes, you can reap the rewards of social networking while mitigating the risks.”
The new “read-only” Facebook functionality is available now at no additional cost to Palo Alto Networks customers. The company also recently released functionality that helps organizations control privacy concerns with Facebook Social Plug-ins.