More than half of IT managers have said that remote working was one of their top priorities for the coming 12 months.

Of 250 surveyed, 43 per cent said that ‘employees using applications on social networks' at work was the top concern, while 36 per cent of respondents are concerned about malware passed via networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, and employees trusting (and clicking on) links sent by contacts within their networks.

Also, more than half (56 per cent) revealed that employees are not always following corporate policies on what they can and can't download. Simon Heron, internet security analyst for Network Box who conducted the research, said: “We know that there is sometimes a business case for using social networks at work, but the sheer volume of traffic implies that they are being used for personal as well as work reasons.

“Whatever the reason, social network use is increasing, so businesses must learn to cope with it. Part of the solution is to set clear guidelines on the use of networks, and part is to educate employees on their responsibility to stay secure, and not click on links they're not sure about.

“A worryingly high number of employees are downloading applications that are not checked by the IT department. IT managers should put systems in place to prevent employees from doing this. Unauthorised applications present a clear security threat to companies and can lead to a reduction in productivity.”