Feeds

UK workers in IM flirt, gossip, bitchfest

And a bit of work, too

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.