The percentage of employees visiting social networking sites at the workplace globally rose to 24 per cent this year from just 18 per cent in 2008, even as more companies are restricting access to such websites, a survey said.

According to a survey by global Internet content security provider Trend Micro, employees are finding ways around security roadblocks to make social networking an integral part of office life around the world.

Social networking at workplaces globally has “steadily risen” to 24 per cent in 2010 from 19 per cent in 2008, the survey of over 1,600 full-time workers at various firms in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan, revealed.

The largest increase in social networking over corporate Internet connections during the last two years was among employees in Germany, which saw a more than 10 per cent jump, and the U.K., with a six per cent rise.

The survey also found that laptop users are much more likely than desktop users to visit social networking sites.

Globally, social networking usage via laptops went up by eight per cent from 2008 to 2010, the report stated.

Social networking over laptops at the workplace increased by 14 per cent in Germany, while it jumped by 10 per cent in the U.S..

In 2010, 29 per cent of laptop users versus 18 per cent of desktop users surveyed said they frequented these sites at work.

For all the countries surveyed this year, laptop users who can connect to the Internet outside of the company network are more likely to share confidential information via instant messenger, web mail and social media applications than those who are always connected to a company’s network.

“Most companies’ concerns about social networking centre around the loss of employee productivity, but they do not realise many such sites are built on interactive technologies, which give cyber-criminals opportunities to exploit users, steal personal identities and corrupt corporate networks with malware,” Trend Micro Global Director of Education David Perry said.

“With the right security solutions and social networking guidelines implemented, there is no reason why companies who choose to allow their employees the option of visiting these sites should be overly exposed to these risks,” Perry added.

Keywords: Cyber crimemalware