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A study conducted by security company Clearswift shows that while Australian employees are among the savviest social media users in the world, more than 30 percent of their employers limit access to social media.

According to the WorkLifeWeb global report, in 2011, 33 percent of Australian managers confirmed their organisations discouraged or did not allow employees to access web 2.0 technologies while at work. 'An overwhelming sense of caution is emanating from Australian organisations when it comes to social media,' the report said.

Phil Vasic, regional director, Clearswift Asia Pacific, said Australian employers had regressed on social media policies. 'Alarm bells come from the employers who appear to have regressed, despite their investment in social media technologies and supporting technologies, and recognition that the social Web benefits their organisation,' he said.'They need to applaud their employees and see that a 'stop and block' approach will only hold their organisation back online and reduce their ability to win employee trust.'

According to the report, cautious policies emanated from fear of cyber-risks. '89 percent (of Australian managers) say data loss/security concerns are preventing technology adoption and almost half of managers surveyed (43 percent) confirmed a security incident had taken place as a result of using an Internet-based application, with more than half reprimanding staff for using social media in the workplace.'

Despite this blockade, the study claimed Australian employees were among the savviest social media users in the world. "Two thirds of respondents said they always think about security when using social media tools, by far the highest of all countries surveyed. Australia also scored the highest in this area when conducting financial transactions online (77 percent),' the report said.

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