Virtual Worlds Present Corporate Problems

Corporate marketing and PR departments have virtual communities like Second Life in their sites for opportunities to reach consumers. Every day a new corporation seems to be setting up shop. It seems the IT department has Second Life and online games on their radar for entirely different reasons: They want to keep their employees out. A recent survey conducted by Sophos finds 90.4 percent of IT pros want to block users from accessing Second Life and other similar sites; and 62 percent find it essential to block users from accessing from their corporate PCs.

The reasons include increased IT security risks; burden to company bandwidth, and wasting valuable business time. The issues are numerous. How many Second Life users are going virtual on their lunch hours, or using their PCs after work, and therefore being blocked from the dose of brand exposure they would get during their daily visits. But also, are any unsuspecting PR and marketing departments going to be blocked from maintaining their virtual presence until negotiations are made between IT and marketing? Sophos is now assisting its customers in shutting off access to over four million corporate users.

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