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Leader: Corporate file-sharing time bomb is ticking

You have been warned…
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

You have been warned…

It's nothing that hasn't been said before but yet another survey today highlights the alarming lack of controls inside organisations for stopping the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing applications by employees.

We all know the dangers – file-sharing can be a source of virus infections and security breaches, it means your employees aren't working, it exposes the company to potential legal action from any record companies that might sue someone who spends all their time at work on Kazaa, and it uses up valuable network resources and bandwidth.

So why aren't companies on top of it? The spate of high-profile web and email misuse cases involving staff surfing for porn or sending dodgy emails at work led to the widespread and now standard practice of issuing employee email and internet use policies and using monitoring to enforce it – within data protection laws of course.

But one recent example heard by silicon.com shows that IT managers are still burying their heads in the sand when it comes to file-sharing. A new starter at a company was given a laptop for remote and home working.

The employee did the honest thing and went to the head of IT and told him that he was using it for file-sharing and downloading MP3s but that he was careful about antivirus protection and used spyware detection and blocking software.

The IT guy, instead of being horrified by the revelation, simply said: "Fine but if the lawyers come knocking, the laptop's yours and not ours."

The RIAA and even the UK's own BPI are warning of a wider clampdown on illegal file-sharers – something that has been made more likely by the EU passing the new copyright and IP directive last week.

The message is clear this time – heed the warning or face the consequences. File-sharing on your corporate network could cost your company a lot of money.

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