The data explosion should drive flexible IT policies

Nick Peart

Nick Peart is a guest blogger.

I read a fascinating fact last week. Apparently 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

Incredible. But actually not as surprising as it first appears when you think about the massive growth in online and social networking over recent years. As a widely adopted consumer trend, such technologies have inevitably infiltrated the business world; becoming a highly valuable and living, breathing part of many organisations.

But this data overload presents its own challenges. A recent article in Computer Business Review discussed the needs of a company’s marketing department regarding social media access. The marketing department is often one of the biggest supporters of social media in the workplace; at its most basic level it provides an ideal platform to engage with a wider range of customers and contacts. But at the same time marketing can also be the department with the most challenging task, ensuring the company’s reputation and brand are safeguarded and protected.

Flexible policies combined with security technology can go a long way towards helping address these issues. Overarching stop and block policies for social media not only cut off a valuable way of communicating with customers, partners and, of course, colleagues but it also prevents some departments from carrying out their roles to their fullest potential.

Flexibility is the key to social media success for businesses. It supports productivity, maintains staff morale and also helps ensure that where there are instances of malicious or accidental data leakage, safeguards are in place to protect the brand.

Flexibility is often needed on a department by department basis. Clearswift solutions allow for rules to be tailored right down to employee level and it’s even possible to enable time quotas and rules for specific websites and services. This allows individual departments, such as the marketing team, the freedom to allow communication in precisely the way they need while maintaining administrative simplicity.

If businesses are to capitalise fully on the benefits of social media, they must adopt a flexible policy approach that goes hand in hand with investment in staff training and education around acceptable use and information security issues. Too often, policy is only ever referred to when something goes wrong – when it’s too late. Staff across the whole of the business must be fully aware of policy, understand the rules and, most importantly, why those rules exist.

Tags: information security, data explosion, Computer business review, policies, clearswift

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