Banks use Facebook despite security concerns

Banks use Facebook despite security concerns

Summary: According to a recent report, over half of CIOs reckon that users shouldn't be using social networking sites such as Facebook. The rationale is apparently that workers should be working not messing about discussing their latest baby photos or whatever.

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TOPICS: Networking
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According to a recent report, over half of CIOs reckon that users shouldn't be using social networking sites such as Facebook. The rationale is apparently that workers should be working not messing about discussing their latest baby photos or whatever.

But it's not as simple as that. To start with, should CIOs be the people who make that decision? They have the authority to argue that social networking can open the company to security risks but it's not in their purview to determine what people should be doing with their time - unless it's their own staff they're worried about.

What's at stake is company policy about how people do their jobs, and whether it's sensible to lock down how they do it, rather than set outcomes and allow people achieve those outcomes as best they might. Of course, this still means learning from the experience of others and operating within company rules but a code based on the general principles of English common law rather than those of the Napoleonic code makes the workplace a nicer environment to spend half your waking hours.

Additionally, people are increasingly using social networking to keep in touch with colleagues, their opposite numbers, partners and suppliers, and for many, that's a good use of their time from a commercial point of view.

That this is increasingly recognised even in the most locked down workplaces is evidenced by the way that the banks are using such techniques. Talking to Palo Alto Networks' CTO and founder Nir Zuk recently, I was surprised to hear that many banks are restructuring their security systems in order to allow them to open their networks for many purposes, including social networking.

Given all this, it's not up to the CIO to decide whether social networking should or should not be allowed. It's up to them to make it happen if the business finds it gives it an advantage.

Topic: Networking

Manek Dubash

About Manek Dubash

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger.


As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites.


I also provide research and analysis services, video and audio production, white papers, event photography, voiceovers, event moderation, you name it...


Back story
An IT journalist for 25+ years, I worked for Ziff-Davis UK for almost 10 years on PC Magazine, reaching editor-in-chief. Before that, I worked for a number of other business & technology publications and was published in national and international titles.

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3 comments
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  • Banks use Facebook despite security concerns

    Isn't instant messaging more of a security risk than Facebook, in so far as a hacker can gain access to a network via an insecure port/IM application? (I heard that MSN was the worst offender, though this was a few years ago).

    Surely, re. your earlier post about dumbass wetware, the security risk is more about posting sensitive information than about hackers gaining access to a network. As if anyone in a security minded position would post such details (name, address, swimwear http://bit.ly/hHoqJ )

    And on the efficiency front, I used web-based google instant messaging a whole heap at my last contract -- very useful for asking about nitty bitty not worthy of an email.
    Jake Rayson
  • Banks use Facebook despite security concerns

    Suppose it all comes down to where you work and what you do for your day job, some one working in an office not unlike zduk or such i don't see an issue, but on the other hand someone working in a call centre or alike thats where I'm a bit unsure.

    Maybe designated area's or systems in certain work places could be setup for when staff are on their breaks, purposely for such use rather than the actual work terminal.
    CA-aba1d
  • Banks use Facebook despite security concerns

    @Jake I think this issue is at least as much about perception as reality. Banks expect to be able to say that they've got the latest and greatest security, your money is safe with us (hah!!) etc etc.

    The fact that their firewalls are (allegedly - I only report, I can't say for sure whether the allegation is true) redundant is something most people would be able to understand. And it's all the more damaging to the banks for that.
    Manek Dubash