information technology

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Discussing The Importance Of Social Networking Websites Information Technology Essay

Social networking websites are a current enlightening observable fact, offering effortless ways to unite with old links and stay in contact with relatives and friends. Although the social factors of these sites is occasionally professed as being at odds with business, with staff openly wasting operational hours using them. Even abuse of these services can take place, it’s now very important to realize that social networking is becoming an enormously acceptable & popular communication.

it is very important for a business to recognize that which of the social networking site is most suitable for doing business with like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Linked-In, all offer particular communication tools and have different target audiences. Bear in mind your listings are openly noticeable, so it is far better to take part in one or two sites professionally, than to increase your resources too delicately and ignore some. Timing is the answer, as swiftly updating websites need timely updates and assurance to new posts on a regular basis. You must also draw the right followers, remain engaged with them and comprise a policy to give right people a proper feedback.

People in both professional & personal life logically form groups based on affinities and skill. We attracted to others with whom we share interests. Many of us fit in to real world networks that formed in nature. Not unexpectedly, these networks swiftly migrated to the internet world. Online social networking has been around us in different forms for almost a decade, and has now started to attain extensive awareness in the last few years. Online social networks take different diversified forms, and are shaped for many reasons.

Rapid improvement in computer and information technology in recent years revolutionizes the way of doing business. It is now an un-ignorable fact that if you are not modifying your business according to ever changing environment of technology then it is very difficult to even survive in the market. It is very crucial for a business to adopt these new technologies and modify their strategies to ever changing environment of doing businesses.

Social networking websites are a current enlightening observable fact, offering effortless ways to unite with old links and stay in contact with relatives and friends. Although the social factors of these sites is occasionally professed as being at odds with business, with staff openly wasting operational hours using them. Even abuse of these services can take place, it’s now very important to realize that social networking is becoming an enormously acceptable & popular communication.

It’s essential to recognize which of the popular social media sites are most appropriate to your business. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Linked-In all offer particular communication tools and have different target audiences. Bear in mind your listings are openly noticeable, so it is far better to take part in one or two sites professionally, than to increase your resources too delicately and ignore some. Timing is answer, as quick moving websites need timely updates and assurance to new posts on a regular basis. You must also draw the right followers, remain engaged with them and comprise a policy to quickly feedback information to the right people within.

Expert blogs and online forums can point out the positive and negative impressions of your products and services - giving precious insight into the minds of clients and possible customers. They also give significant clues as to the performance of Rivals and can highlight a competitive edge. It is also very essential to ascertain who is specialized to react to posts and observe responses, which also helps to establish a suitable user policy and mitigate the risk of abuse by employees. It is equally very important to inform employees on the consequences of posting comments that could convict themselves or harm the organization.

The expansion of social networking websites has been extraordinary. Multiple number of networking sites have users in millions. People have a enduring online presence where they make profiles, share photos, share their opinions & beliefs with friends and spend a lot of time to see what their friends are doing with their lives.

The time spent by the peoples in using social networking websites is one reason why many businesses are unwilling to permit employees to make use of sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn throughout office hours. This is one of the dilemmas for businesses which seem to be a hurdle in improving productivity. On the other hand, businesses are starting to be pleased about that social networking and its advantages, and there are a lot of companies that have utilize social networking as an additional vehicle to put on a better existence online and a wider audience.

The Benefits

Customize personally

Social networks let organizations to interact and select profiles of communities or potential customers and can approach them in a very personal & sophisticated manner. Different companies support their clients to develop them into relations or friends, offering exclusive discounts that would be limited to online associates. This personal touch is not only esteemed but may boost up the business and let it access to customer’s own circle of contacts.

Intensifying Market Research

Social networking sites provide businesses a incredible opportunity to broaden their list of associates. By Using Facebook, for example, a small or a medium based business can mark an audience of hundreds & thousands with no much effort on marketing & advertisement. With a superior corporate profile and slight in terms of expenses, a new market opens up, as the ways of doing business is totally changed.

Cheaper Advertisement

Once social networks have develop its reputation and people become known with the brand name, businesses can utilize the sites or applications to execute marketing campaigns, publicize exceptional offers, and make significant announcements and direct attracted surfers to their own websites. If compared to other means of marketing It is typically incredibly low-cost advertising as, and the only effort which has to be made by company itself is to maintain the whole network and the official Web site.

Establishing the brand image

Constructing solid social networks can assist a business to increase its brand image in the minds of customers with as little marketing as possible. Social networks can boost your reputation as deliberation of the leaders in the field and clients/contacts start to recognize your business as dependable and an outstanding source of information/products that is reliable with their requirements.

Major issues & Concerns

Social networking websites like facebook and linkedin are applications and, others, are not usually a point of distress for a company. It is actually the users who utilize them that are a source of concern. Social networkers, proved to be an origin of five different problems for an organization that permits social networking at work.

Efficiency & Productivity at workplace

One explanation why organizations don’t allow social networking in the place of work is the fact that employees waste a great deal of time surfing and updating their profiles and sites all through the day. For this purpose Organizations appear to be very cautious at productivity concerns.

In addition it also can affect the company’s morale. Staff does not appreciate colleagues who waste their work hours on social networking sites (and others) at the same time they are functioning to cover up the workload. The impact is even more obvious if the culprits left as it is.

Resources

Even though updates from different networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn may not acquire enormous amounts of bandwidth, the accessibility of heavy video links and other content enriched links browsed on these websites eats up a lot of bandwidth of the company. The company is paying the isp (internet service providers) not for this purpose but to actually as a corporate facility.

Malicious Application

The threat of different malwares sometimes ignored by organizations. Hackers and other cyber pirates always make use of different social networking sites just because they find it as an easy way to spread different malwares and viruses through the internet and can easily commit cyber crimes & frauds.

According to facebook only, it claims of having atleast 50,000 user oriented applications. Although facebook always tried to make these applications safe for the user, but due to very complex internet protocols there is always a limitation. it cannot be 100% malicious code free so one cannot claim that all of these applications are safe for the user .some of these infected applications are potentially harmful for the user so one might lose his personal information including bank details etc. the messaging services provided by different social networking sites are also a major concern and plays a vital role in spreading malicious information from one computer to another

Spamming & phishing

So much advancement in social networking sector still cannot prevent the loopholes that let scammers to forge information and trap user into deals that seems legit but infect it’s a scam. The end result is information or identity theft. Some of the scammers convince the user to provide confidential information such as usernames and passwords and in certain cases bank details etc. By extracting such private information, the scammers can actually misuse this information for their personal use. Conversely, some of the users frequently update their private information on their profiles. They will never likely to disclose such information infront of a stranger meeting for first time, they don’t hesitate in posting their personal information on their social networking profiles, forums, shout boxes and web blogs which is more likely to be used negatively.

It is very crucial for the Employers to beware of confidentiality of the information that is being posted on the third party site by their employees, because that might affect the image of the organization. Sometimes it happens that users post different information without knowing the significance & consequences of what they have posted. Some of the message seems harmless while posting such as “I will have to work all night because a bug is identified in the end-user product” may be a spontaneous statement but it can be a caution to the users who have the concerns with end-user product, most importantly if the company deals with the critical and confidential (financial) data.

Legal obligations & reputation

There is no such law in practice which held any of the social networking sites under the exploitation of information and privacy. Also any evidence from such sites is not accepted as authentic. Although, it is very important for the employer to keep an eye on those employees who may be criticizing on the organization or leaking sensitive information about the company or employer. For example, An employee commented on his facebook profile about his job being boring and instantly given his marching orders. What if some unsatisfied employee wants to express her feeling about her jobs? It is also against the ethics and moral conducts of the organization if any of the employees is accessing prohibited and objectionable material. An employer could be blamed for not monitoring his employees and allowing access to such content in the organizational setup. Again it might seriously damage the conducts of the organization and can lead to immorality.

Possible solutions:

We don’t have a straight forward solution of the discussed issues and problems. While taking strict measures and implication of new technology will be beneficial in limiting the employees accessing social networking tools, it might be impossible to limit what employee’s access or post outside the work environment.

These are the major concerns that businesses are facing currently: These new methods of social marketing brings new prospects for organization to gain more and more but these concerns are so much crucial and unlikely to ignore . Each and every moment spent by the employees accessing outer resources (includes social networks) brings new security challenges for the organizations. Also it brings a big question mark on the increasing work efficiency and productivity.

Following are the three options left for businesses to address these issues:

1. Totally terminate the access to networking sites (including internet itself).

2. Set time limits or certain restrictions on the usage.

3. Permit unlimited & unchecked access.

Prohibiting the access to social networking sites can be the best possible solution for organizations which deals in highly sensitive information, but one of the drawbacks of this action is that might result in de-motivation of employees. Restricting employees to interact socially online might be ineffective in terms of positive productivity and satisfaction level. It also can result in psychological counteraction.

In case, if you don’t want to give full access to social networking sites you will much likely to define certain perimeters, which can be effective in achieving more secure internal environment. For this purpose you can ascertain bandwidth limit or time limit. In spite of any of the option an organization likely to select, they must make sure about implementing the following measures:

1. A reliable and effective corporate level firewall (both software & hardware),

2. Professional level Anti-malware & Anti-virus software with updated virus database,

3. Controlling and maintaining the flow of sensitive information in & out of organization.

Maintaining stability:

One of the most distressing things about social networking sites is that they persuade users to publicize more and more information which can be exploited in many ways. Even the most careful and knowledgeable users can post such information that they must not – the same is the case with companies letting employees posting information online without monitoring.

If any of the organization is planning to permit the access to different social networking sites, following are some of the important tips that should be kept in mind while doing that:

1. Guide your Employees. This is a very vital point. Most of the times the workers within the organizations are not aware of potential threats that can actually be prove as a major security concerns. You can guide them about this threat by communicating them on common ground and let them know that just a single click on a link you receive or some softwares installation can end up in some malware infecting the machines and the whole network. Moreover, guide them to not click on any of the suspicious link they receive and be careful while uploading their personal information online. It is not likely if an employee is smart enough to have his online profile so he will also be aware of the security issues related to it and for the whole organization.

2. Safety measures and usage policies. Make sure you have precise written policy signed by all of the employees regarding use of internet, it should be clearly motioned about the time & duration when employees will be allowed to use social networking sites. Filtering and monitoring web related services is very important, and staff must be aware that their actions are being monitored and that failure to abide by the company regulation can end up in penalty and/or dismissal.

3. Limit or control the usability. If you are confident enough that you have no security loopholes and sure there is no harm in letting employees interact using social networking websites then only permits them to access social networking sites for the duration of their lunch break, or only for off-peak hours. Using the technology of web lock the administrator has the ability to put lock & restrictions on any of these sites.

Social networking can be a two-edged sword, cutting both ways. The good: increases in business effectiveness. The bad: increased risk and litigation exposure. Like any other technology tool, though, proper planning and then implementation will maximize the one and minimize the other.

Information Management Special Reports, October 6, 2009

David Kelleher

http://www.information-management.com/specialreports/2009_165/social_networking_media-10016208-1.html


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