Social media barricades falling rapidly, reports Gartner

The number of enterprises blanket blocking all access to social media websites is dropping by 10% a year, and fewer than 30% of large organisations will block employee access to social media by 2014, according to figures from Gartner. At its Identity and Access Management (IAM) Summit, currently tak

The number of enterprises blanket blocking all access to social media websites is dropping by 10% a year, and fewer than 30% of large organisations will block employee access to social media by 2014, according to figures from Gartner.

At its Identity and Access Management (IAM) Summit, currently taking place in London, the analyst firm revealed that many social media environments now include better mechanisms to collect, process and store identity data securely than some corporate IAM systems.

For security managers, this counts as both a threat and an opportunity, and Gartner advised firms to consider adopting some social media identity data practices to improve support for their own systems.

"Certain departments and processes, such as marketing, require access to external social media, and employees can circumbent blocks by using devices such as smartphones. Organisations need now to turn their attention to the impacts of social media on IAM," said Gartner research vice president Andrew Walls.

In the wider IAM market, Gartner said that budget for projects utilising the technology would remain constrained this year, as there was no longer the appetite for projects than run the risk of failure due to, for example, an overly broad scope or lack of focus on business value, which has hampered uptake recently.

Additional pressures around increasingly complex enterprise environments, and its accompanying "sea of tokens", would force IAM suppliers to innovate rapidly.

"Establishing identity in such a diverse and heterogeneous environment is becoming more difficult, and the identity information itself is increasingly problematic as a source of privacy breaches," said Gartner's Bob Blakley.

"New technologies, services and architectures are emerging in response to these pressures, but plenty of work still has to be done before the industry can produce a comprehensive and dependable identity architecture for the modern world," he added.

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