Security experts are advising employers to ban social networking websites after the latest Facebook security breach, although some fear that the Web 2.0 culture is already too deeply ingrained to be eradicated from corporate life.
The latest Facebook lapse allowed users access to vast libraries of private photographs. The most publicised was a leaked photo of Paris Hilton drinking beer with her friends.
Some security experts fear that future breaches could be far more serious as corporate users turn to social networking and Web 2.0.
"The YouTube generation has definitely helped people to get used to the idea of viewing corporate videos," said Julian Phillips, MD of Impact Marcom, which runs managed audiovisual services for major banks. "It's now a vehicle for many corporate videos."
Web 2.0 applications are even more influential than that, said Mike Smart, product manager at Secure Computing. "Remote access, webmail, SSL VPNs - these are all Web 2.0 applications. Now even business tools like Linkedin and Plaxo are trying to introduce social networking aspects."
Smart said that end-users and IT directors were too complacent about the dangers of Facebook-type applications being used at work. He warned that companies could be sleepwalking into an ambush as corporate culture dumbed down.
"Getting onto Facebook or MySpace is like getting a tattoo done," said Smart.
"It's something you do when you're young, or feeling giddy, but you can regret it for the rest of your life. Like a sort of digital tattoo, compromising information that ends up on a website is very, very hard to get rid of."
Smart called on IT directors and CIOs to devise uncompromising policies on social networks.