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IT managers caught in employees' illicit networks

IM, VoIP create biz security risk

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Illicit workplace "greynets" are enjoying enormous growth, with staff embracing the concept while BOFHs are left playing whac-a-mole.

The FaceTime survey, of 700 US employees and IT managers, found an average of nine greynets in every company, with only one per cent of firms avoiding them completely.

We used to call them peer-to-peer applications, downloaded apps that connect direct to other users to exchange messages and/or data, but apparently the hip moniker of Instant Messaging, VoIP and filesharing applications, is "greynet" these days.

All this grey activity is providing a great conduit for malware, and IT managers report spending an average of $289,000 on fixing greynet-transported security breaches, compared to $130,000 last year.

Eighty-six per cent of BOFHs don't like IM, though 45 per cent of companies do have IM monitoring in place. Eighty-five per cent of employees admit using their work computer for personal stuff.

More worrying for the BOFH is that 36 per cent of employees believe they have the right to install any application they like on their desktop computer, regardless of IT department approval.

Luckily, while most employees believe they have the right to install applications, the managment systems already available to the average BOFH make that impossible, and with that capability expanding to Windows Mobile there's still plenty of opportunity to keep users under control. ®

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