That's the surprising consensus reached at a meeting of 30 CSOs representing some of the UK's leading enterprises held in London during the past week. This despite a poll at the bi-annual CSO Interchange event revealing that those same CSOs view social networking as the most over-hyped threat.
When it came to the round table discussions on the subject of social networking, however, the gathered CSOs expressed what has been called a "strong preference" for companies to consider banning them all. Well, almost all, as LinkedIn gets an exception as most of the CSOs considered that acceptable. Could that possibly have something to do with the CSOs being more likely to be active members of LinkedIn, a business-to-business oriented social network, than Facebook or Twitter I wonder? Perhaps they missed the news about LinkedIn and Twitter integration last year.
Indeed, polling showed that some 75 percent of companies represented had already chosen to go down the social networking ban route, pretty much the same number as the same poll last year indicated. Interestingly, considering that this was a meeting of security executives, the ban reasoning was as much to do with an impact on productivity as it was matters security related.
Even more interestingly. the gathered CSOs admitted that they recognised any company which did ban social networking tools risked alienating the younger members of the workforce and they would be likely to resort to their own mobile devices - and potentially open up further cans of security worms as a result.
Elsewhere in the discussion, a conclusion was reached that there was an urgent need for a common set of industry standards to enable companies to evaluate and compare alternative cloud providers. The consensus being that there's an unstoppable move towards cloud computing and that the industry needs to focus on developing best practices on how to choose and deploy cloud computing solutions.
Another area of heated debate centred on the role of the IT professional five years from now. About 35 percent of the CSOs claimed that their roles already include technical, legal, managerial, political and communications elements, whilst 22 percent still view their roles as predominantly technical. The discussions on this subject touched on the reduction in the number of internal IT staff required by organizations due to the move to cloud computing infrastructures and the migration of the majority of the remaining roles from internal support roles towards managing large data centre infrastructures, either for cloud vendors or for large corporate users.
Qualys Chairman and CEO and Founder of CSO Interchange Philippe Courtot summed up the meeting: "the discussions and views aired at these events always reinforce my view of the immense and ever-changing nature of the challenges facing today’s CSOs. It’s no longer sufficient to be technologically astute but increasingly in the future they will also need to display a variety of skills ranging from technician to communicator and evangelist".