Henning Ogberg (Germany) - Increasing Acknowledgement of Benefits Versus Security Concerns

Nearly half (49%) of German employers regard web 2.0 and other collaborative technologies as being vital to the future success of their company.

Communication and better access to information are the most common benefits expected by companies from the new technologies. On the downside the opportunities identified by employers are being hampered by security concerns. In Germany, 86% of employers say concerns regarding data loss and security prevent them from adopting new technologies. This year 18% of German businesses want to invest more in social media than in 2010. Compared to other countries the push for investment is weakest in Germany along with Japan (13%).

To ease the security issues, 23% of German companies use blocking techniques for web 2.0 sites. Therefore, German businesses take a global pole position when it comes to blocking (Australia is second with 21%). Regarding the use of personal devices such as tablets or smartphones for work purposes, the conservative approach of German companies becomes more obvious. 41% reported that they actively limit such use. Only 18% of managers encourage their employees to use these new devices.

Half of the managers in Germany trust their staff to use web 2.0 responsibly. However, 30% of employees think web security is entirely their company's responsibility. By their own account 60% of employees always think about protecting company devices and the company's network. For 45% an overly strict internet policy would affect their motivation and could be a reason for leaving the company.

62% of staff want to be trusted to plan their time and technology use at work. In addition, employees are experiencing high levels of personal and work life blur. This does not come as a surprise since technology is becoming more pervasive in everyday life. Employees cherish their autonomy to use web 2.0 services and have little sense of what they are being protected from by security policies and often therefore respond negatively to monitoring.

Finally, social media seems to be creating greater levels of distraction during the working day, leading to longer days, in part to make up for missed work. Both employers and employees are struggling to define the difference between permissible and unproductive uses of new media. Instead of blatant blocking techniques, which risk alienating employees, companies should look to understand how to utilize the benefits of social media in the workplace and spend more time educating employees on how to use these new tools in a secure and responsible manner.

By Henning Ogberg, Vice President & Country Manager Germany, Clearswift


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