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Employers crack down on social networking use

Australian businesses are cracking down on their employees’ access to social networking sites amid growing concerns that they can hinder productivity.

Figures released by Telstra and Internet security specialists, MessageLabs revealed a significant increase in the number of times employers have blocked worker access to social networking sites between June 2008 and April 2009.

Web-usage trends of Australian small and medium enterprises has shown that 6,000 attempts to access social networking sites are blocked each day; while the total number of allowed websites has been cut by 58 percent.

Telstra Business executive director, Brian Harcourt said, “If an employee spends as much as an hour a day on Facebook, it can end up costing a business thousands of dollars in lost time over the course of a year.”

Many small business owners are now responding by introducing blanket bans on social networking sites.

Kerrie-Anne Turner, senior director for SaaS Group, Symantec believes social networking sites distract workers and in smaller offices they can drain bandwidth and cut into IT costs.

Telstra, through MessageLab services, have now released security tools for employers to block social networking sites and allow the option of an unmonitored personal-time feature during approved breaks.

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Veronica Joseph

Veronica Joseph

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