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PAN Makes Facebook ''Read-Only'' With New Tool

Chances are if you're at work, you probably don't have access to Facebook. A major productivity killer, the social networking site is pretty much guaranteed to be blocked in most offices. However, as the website grows and the use of apps like Farmville and Mafia Wars (not to mention all those silly quizzes) continues to skyrocket, IT departments are finding another reason to be grateful the rest of the company can't access Facebook: malware.

Unfortunately, though Facebook is presenting more of a risk for malware, it's also becoming more beneficial for many marketing departments. 'Can you trust the marketing department with access to Facebook?' is the question a lot of IT people are asking. This leaves them with the age old problem of assesing the monetary value of X and comparing that number with the risks it could present.

Palo Alto Networks is hoping to make that decision a little easier with the release of a tool that can turn Facebook into a read-only site. Recognising the growing value of Facebook for enterprises, PAN has developed an application that allows IT to give different departments different levels of access to Facebook. This means marketing can have full access to Facebook (messaging, posting, mail, photos, applications, etc), while sales, for example, would have a read-only version or access to just posting and mail.  

However, security isn't the only reason companies are banning Facebook and other social networks; these types of sites are known productivity killers. Before the company had clocked up nearly half a billion users and become an attractive way to spread worms and other malware, people were just wasting vast amounts of time on the site. Many companies blocked it because it was murdering productivity. PAN's tool doesn't ignore this factor, allowing companies to ban access for certain departments all together barring a specific time of the day, like lunch times.

PAN's director of marketing, Chris King, says they've seen a huge demand for a tool like this from customers. Is this something your company would consider using? Let us know in the comments below!