Social media is the biggest concern of IT managers as departments struggle to regain control of the way they enforce policy and practice within their organisations.

According to new research by LANDesk Software, 61 per cent of IT decision makers in the UK see the security threat of staff use of social media as their biggest concern and despite 73 per cent having user policies on social media, one in three were unsure whether these were being adhered to.

More than half (55 per cent) of employees surveyed admitted to downloading software from the internet to a corporate computer, with 48 per cent found to be non-work related, leading to a quarter of employees needing to contact IT helpdesks to fix resulting problems. 

Andy Baldin, VP EMEA at LANDesk, said: “Today more end-users than ever are able to easily download software and manage the way they use IT.  As a result, many employees see themselves as their ‘own IT Manager', which has the potential to cause a number of problems for organisations. As applications evolve, end-users increasingly download new software add-ons, which can expose businesses to new security threats.”

A recent report by Clearswift found that in 2007, just 11 per cent of businesses in the UK were making use of Web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter, Facebook, Salesforce.com and Skype. Three years on, figures released today show 61 per cent of UK companies are now encouraging or allowing the use of web collaboration or social media tools in the workplace.

Furthermore, more than half of business leaders surveyed globally believe that making use of web collaboration technologies is now ‘critical' to the future success of their business.

Richard Turner, chief executive of Clearswift, said: “This research shows evidence of a change of attitude and confidence when it comes to Web 2.0 in the workplace – from the ‘stop and block' mentality that many businesses adopted in the early 2000s to an appreciation that Web 2.0 is good for business and should be implemented more fully.

“There's still progress to be made, however, and clearly security is an issue that many businesses are not yet comfortable with, but the picture today is a vast improvement on even just three years ago.”