IT pays the price for your fun at work

Not surprisingly, many people are e-mailing friends, watching YouTube videos, and writing on Facebook during work hours, and IT departments are paying the price cleaning up viruses and spyware, survey finds.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

It's clear that the line between work and play is blurring. Many people check work e-mail accounts in their off hours as much as they check their personal e-mail accounts. And who isn't occasionally distracted by something on Facebook or YouTube during the work day?

Security specialist FaceTime Communications commissioned a survey of nearly 530 IT managers and end users to find out exactly how people are using the Internet at work and what impact those activities have on their IT departments.

Ninety-seven percent of end users surveyed reported using one or more Internet applications at work, up from 85 percent last year, and 82 percent say they use Web conferencing, according to the survey due to be released on Monday.

All that Web use has a downside, though. Seventy-three percent of IT managers reported having had to deal with at least one Internet-related attack at work, with viruses, Trojans, and worms being the most common type, followed by spyware.

On average, IT managers reported 34 incidents per month. A typical incident takes 22 hours to fix and can cost a company as much as $50,000 based on an hourly IT worker wage of $70, according to the report.

Social networks and social media sites are particularly popular in office settings. More employees use social media sites at work for personal reasons (82 percent) than for business reasons (79 percent), the survey found. LinkedIn is the most commonly used site for professional purposes, while YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace are the top three social media sites used for personal purposes.

But the most common personal use of a corporate PC is for e-mailing friends and family. Then people like to Web surf; bank; shop; visit music, photo, or video sites; IM with friends and family; and connect with friends via social networks.

Corporations also continue to keep a watch on employee activities on the Web. Nearly 80 percent said they monitor corporate e-mail, 65 percent monitor Web browsing, 40 percent monitor peer-to-peer file sharing, 38 percent monitor IM messages, and 36 percent monitor social-networking activity.

FaceTime's survey found that personal e-mail is the most popular non-work Internet activity for corporate workers, followed by Web surfing, banking, and shopping. FaceTime Communications