The first part of this New York Times article paints an alarming picture of the realities of growing security vulnerabilities in business. In part, those vulnerabilities are the doors left open as employees download and run applications such as peer-to-peer file sharing and instant messaging. But the main issue this article raises is that users are circumventing IT to use applications like Google Docs and Google Desktop to do their jobs more effectively. This is keeping IT and security experts awake at night, worrying about what information is making its way out of the corporate firewall and creating a potentially dangerous situation.
But the reality is that these technologies are here to stay. Many companies have been focussed on how to limit the use of applications as a means to mitigate risk. And while I agree there are situations where this is merited, we need to focus more on how we enable the secure use of these applications and tap into their full potential. What’s interesting about Enterprise 2.0 technologies is that their use is often being driven not by IT but by business users and managers. These are people who have a need and easily find free or affordable options readily available in the software cloud. Striking a balance between these two extremes is an important objective for Enterprise 2.0.
The artical draws a smiliar conclusion towards the end:
“But the answer, it seems, is not a draconian crackdown on all Internet applications, but a more fine-grained monitoring and sorting of what applications can play in corporate networks and under what ground rules. After all, many Internet applications are seen as vital tools of productivity, collaboration and innovation the stuff of Enterprise 2.0 companies.”
Maybe there’s a better answer. Companies who embrace and implement Enterprise 2.0 applications behind the firewall take control, manage the process, keep their proprietary information secure, energize their workforce and reap the collaboration and communication benefits that come from creatively using social network software to get work done.
Managed RSS platforms can be securely set up behind the firewall to automatically and intelligently deliver relevant content from internal and external news sources, blogs, wikis and forums. Analytics and reporting on the content being consumed can be used to identify the most efficient communication channels and sources of the highest value content. And, the organization keeps their data safely on their network and hardware.
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