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12/22/2007
01:01 AM
Steve Wylie
Steve Wylie
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A Firewalled Facebook

The rise of Facebook is arguably the most explosive technology trend in 2007. Facebook launched in February 2004 from a Harvard dorm inhabited by now CEO Mark Zuckerberg. By December of that year Facebook had over a million users and today is one of the top visited sites in the world with over 50 million users. With this kind of growth there was no doubt that the Facebook phenomenon would infiltrate business - and it has. That blurring of boundaries between business and personal worlds is giving some IT managers a bad case of social heartburn and has sparked much debate around the appropriateness of consumer social networking tools in business.I came across this story in Techworld about a company that may offer a solution to the problem.

"WorkLight has released a tool that's designed to allow companies to provide employees with access to Facebook while ensuring the social network is run from behind secure corporate firewalls. The server-based tool, known as WorkBook, stores proprietary company data on secure servers, not on Facebook servers, WorkLight said. In addition, the tool integrates with a company's existing single sign-on tools to authenticate employees, it said. Non-proprietary data can be viewed on the larger Facebook network, but proprietary company data, along with employee phone numbers and job roles, will be hidden behind the firewall, said David Lavenda, vice president of marketing and product strategy at Boston-based WorkLight."
Some companies will chose to block out Facebook and other public social applications. For others, Workbook might offer the best of both worlds by tapping the value of Facebook, keeping users content and keeping sensitive information behind the firewall.

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