The Internet and Your Job

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From this article in the NYT:

Every summer for the last four years, e-mail security company Proofpoint has surveyed large companies about their Internet security anxieties and the measures they are taking to protect themselves. The findings, of course, are intended to validate the demand for Proofpoint’s own security products, but they are interesting nevertheless.

This year, Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Proofpoint, interviewed data security managers at 308 companies with more than 1000 employees. The study was posted today. The most interesting stats:

Sensationalist headline writers take note: In a new question this year, 58.4 percent of companies in survey reported having a written policy restricting the use of social networks like MySpace or Facebook in the workplace. 14.0 percent said that they disciplined an employee for violating those policies in the last year; 4.9 percent said they fired an employee over the use of social networks.

Knowing your colleague’s secrets: Nearly one third of companies, 32.1 percent, employ staff to read or otherwise analyze outbound e-mail. 16.9 percent employ a staff member whose primary or exclusive responsibility is to monitor and read outbound e-mail.

Watch what you write: 27.6 percent fired an employee for violating e-mail policies in the last 12 months. Nearly half, 45.5 percent, said they disciplined an employee for violating those policies. More than one in three companies, 33.8 percent, investigated a suspected leak of confidential information.

An e-mail today could be evidence tomorrow: Finally, 20 percent of companies in the survey said they were ordered during the course of a legal or regulatory proceeding to produce employee e-mail. Of companies with over 20,000 employees, that number went up to 29.1 percent.

I would also add that even if your employer doesn’t “catch” it on the way out, using a work computer to send a rape threats or the like via comments and/or e-mail to feminist bloggers may get you fired if they get reported to law enforcement officials who choose to follow up with your employer. FYI.

–Ann Bartow

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