Feeds

UK workers in IM flirt, gossip, bitchfest

And a bit of work, too

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The increasing use of Instant Messaging (IM) in the workplace is exposing UK companies to fresh security and legal threats, a study out Monday claims. One in six (16 per cent) of 2,000 UK consumers quizzed in a YouGov survey admitted using IM at work to send or receive sensitive company information or documents. A quarter of respondents (25 per cent) used IM to gossip about work colleagues - twice as many men than women use IM for this purpose. Four in five (80 per cent) of 18-29 year olds use IM to chat to friends and family whilst at work.

And while they're not flirting, gossiping or engaging in a spot of industrial espionage a significant minority of 18-29 year olds (seven per cent) are using IM to look for alternative employment. Cheeky.

The flip side of this is that IM can be a valuable business tool. Workers said it helps them to improve communications with customers or partners (46 per cent), enables faster decision making (33 per cent) or helps in information gathering (39 per cent).

Respondents to the YouGov survey were also asked what IM controls already existed in their workplace. The study found 21 per cent of companies have a general policy in place regarding IM use and a further 19 per cent also had technology installed to manage or block IM communications. However 62 per cent worked for companies that had no policy or technology in place.

Here comes the sales pitch...

The survey was commissioned by IM security specialist Akonix Systems. In a separate study, Akonix found that viruses that spread across IM networks more than tripled in the first three months of 2005. And that's just the start of it. Firms failing to manage IM communications are also potentially failing to adhere to stricter corporate governance regulations, such as Sarbannes-Oxley, which requires companies that trade in the US to provide audit trails of key communications. Then there's the risk of potential lawsuits from disgruntled employees, who might find out they'd been bad-mouthed in IM chats within the workplace. Terrifying stuff.

Akonix is using the study as a marketing tool to accompany the opening of its first UK office in Guildford, Surrey, this week. By setting up shop in the UK, Akonix hopes to work with partners to push more sales of its flagship Akonix L7 Enterprise product, which adds various security, auditing and logging capabilities to third-party IM tools. Existing partners include including European security companies and resellers, such as Business Union Distribution, Pentura, TSG, SXC and Webwasher. ®

Related stories

IM worm hits Reuters
NY teen charged over IM spam attack
Botched maintenance - not worm - blamed for MS IM glitch
Download.Ject-style worm spreads via IM
Men chattier than women (SMS usage survey)
Your data is at risk - from everything

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.