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SMBs Collaborating on Facebook, Beware!

A Microsoft executive outlined an approach that Microsoft will probably pursue alongside partners in trying to persuade SMBs to pay for the forthcoming Office 365 cloud productivity and collaboration suite.

In a blog posting on Monday titled "Small Businesses -- Are your Mobile Workers Compromising your Security," Cindy Bates, vice president of U.S. Small and Medium Business & Distribution, described the dangers of doing business collaboration on free public social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter.

"According to a recent survey sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, when working remotely, 42 percent of information workers at small and midsized businesses (SMBs) use public social networking tools (Facebook, Twitter) to collaborate with colleagues," Bates wrote.

"It may not come as much of a surprise to you to hear that these public sites do not meet the same security and privacy protocols as in-house measures provide. Yet, less than one-third (29 percent) of SMB information workers report that their companies provide access to internal social networking tools," said Bates, who has a dual channel and end user-focused role at Microsoft.

Bates' solution is for small businesses to provide Office 365 to allow their mobile workers to collaborate behind a corporate firewall while protecting their data from the whims of public social networking sites policies.

Look for Microsoft Ready to Go kits and other collateral to include this theme for SMB customers when Microsoft's cloud productivity and collaboration suite comes out.

Posted by Scott Bekker on May 24, 2011