Less than 30 percent of large enterprises will block social media , says Gartner

by CXOtoday Staff    Mar 06, 2012

Urges organizations to turn their attention on the impact of social media on identity and access management.

The number of organizations blocking access to all social media is dropping by around 10 percent a year, according to a report by global research firm Gartner.

As per the findings, fewer than 30 percent of large enterprises will block employee access to social media sites by 2014, compared with 50 percent in 2010.

“Even in those organizations that block all access to social media, blocks tend not to be complete,” said Andrew Walls, Research Vice President at Gartner. “Certain departments and processes, such as marketing, require access to external social media, and employees can circumvent blocks by using personal devices such as smartphones.”

A study by Gartner in September last year had said that organizations that block access to social media are at a higher risk of non-compliant behavior.

In the new report Gartner said that organizations must now turn their attention to the impacts of social media on identity and access management (IAM).

Social media a support to IAM

Gartner said that social media environments include mechanisms to collect, process, share and store a more complete range of identity data than do corporate IAM systems. They enable a complete view of identity, one that extends beyond the bounds of organizations.

For IAM managers, this is both a threat and an opportunity, according to Gartner.

“Identity data and social media platforms can expose organizations and users to a wide variety of security threats, but organizations can also use this identity data to improve support for their own IAM practices and the ambitions of business stakeholders,” the report said.

The collection of identity data by public social media on a massive scale enables improvements in the production of identity intelligence. This pushes IAM programs to discover the user profiles accessed by staff and to maintain capabilities for accessing external services in order to harvest identity data.

The firm said that social media also provide a mechanism for verifying the identity of employees, job candidates and customers, and a cloud identity platform for performing IAM for other applications. IAM programs can use social media for identity verification and to extend identity services to internal and external applications via a semi-trusted social platform.

“Organizations should not ignore social media and social identity,” said Walls. “We recommend that organizations ascertain how they currently use internal and external social media in both official and unofficial ways, and look for dissonance between IAM practices and the identity needs, opportunities and risks of social media.”