A new study by network security firm Palo Alto Networksshows “explosive” growth in the use of social networks in the workplace, with a 300 percent increase in social media activity in the latter half of 2011 compared with the same period of 2010.
Twitter usage, in particular, showed a dramatic increase in popularity at work, growing by more than 700 percent year over year.
Employees are flocking to other social sites as well. Since October 2010, bandwidth consumption for social media postings, Facebook apps, and other social plug-ins jumped significantly. When measured as a percentage of total social networking bandwidth, usage rose from 5 percent in October 2010 to 25 percent in December 2011, the study shows.
Browser-based file sharing is way up as well. File sharing sites appeared on the networks of 92 percent of participating organizations in the survey.
The ability of browser-based, file-sharing apps to evade detection means that they often operate undetected on corporate networks, a situation that represents a security risk for businesses, the study says.
The Palo Alto Networks Application Usage and Risk Report analyzed application traffic from more than 1,600 businesses between April 2011 and November 2011.