Feeds

The 'Funky Business' consultants want to poke you

Back to work, back to Facebook?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Column Recently, we've seen a spate of reports of employers blocking the use of social networking sites at work. With one estimate suggesting that sites such as Facebook cost UK employers over £130m a day in lost productivity, this is perhaps unsurprising.

But the response from unions and technology commentators has been less sympathetic to the bosses. Employers who ban Facebook are painted as luddites who are out of touch with the times. There is the additional implication that they could pay a penalty for their conservatism.

In many respects, this is the charge 21st century businesses least like to have levelled at them. So, social networking sites are opening up interesting faultlines in the presumed relationship of business and new technology.

How many businesses are there that don’t claim to be in favour of technological change? One might think of the producers of classic goods such as traditional watches, classic clothes and wines. But elsewhere, the service industries that create around three-quarters of jobs in the Western world trade on an optimistic rhetoric of technological innovation.

To resist the sparkling newness of high-tech gadgets is to risk the apathy of investors, consumers, and employees. On the other hand, where businesses claim to be universally in favour of innovation, this is a recipe for hypocrisy.

Why hypocrisy?

Because businesses cannot help but be defined, at least in the medium term, by certain techniques of production. When these are superceded, it is hardly something for them to feel cheerful about. If the manager of a steel mill claimed to be excited by an innovation that made his mill redundant, he would most likely be a liar.

And yet the veneer must be maintained.

CEOs appear in Business Week in golfing wear, reciting the shareholder-targeted mantra that their management philosophy is ‘innovate or die’. Coming from a CEO, this philosophy is about as surprising as discovering that a football manager is asking for ‘110 per cent commitment’ from all his players.

The consumer must also be given the impression that, where a brand is concerned, they are never stepping in the same river twice – the product will change from one visit to the next. The words ‘new’ and ‘improved’ are now about the only features of supermarket packaging that never change.

As for employees, management rhetoric views them as an asset whose innovative potential must be nurtured. Nobody, apparently, wants to work for a company that is stuck in its ways.

So who is being lied to?

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.