Twitter has, like similar social networking sites, raised many security questions – especially when it comes to whether businesses should allow employees access in the workplace. While many businesses have adopted Twitter as part of their marketing arsenal, they would do well not to lose sight of the problems: time-wasting by employees, malware attacks, scams and the leakage of commercial or confidential information.

Various surveys and bloggers have highlighted these issues. Morse PLC found that 57% of office workers use social networking sites for an average of 40 minutes a day, while Natasha Lomas, in Digital Dilemma: does your business need a Twitter policy, provides a number of comical (yet worrying) anecdotes on Twitter usage.

But are these concerns justified? Lomas argues that people talking publicly about work is as old as the hills and that “gossip has not stopped the business world from turning”, while Daniel Schwarz in Twitter in the workplace: Why Employers Need to Be Cautious, Not Afraid, writes: “You don’t see advice that we ought to cut off mail service, or remove phones from employees’ office […] Rather, we outline a set of expectations as to what is proper business behaviours and what is expected by the employer”.

And this is the all-important point: What should be done? Enforcing strong usage policies is one important measure while educating employees on what they can and cannot do, as well as how to identify the threats is equally important.

A recent survey by Robert Half Technology found that 38% of CIOs are tightening up IT policies in response to social network.

This, it seems, is the way forward. Blocking access is proving to be counter-productive (especially when all your competitors are tweeting their customers). A cautious approach, proper policies and awareness of the dangers is the answer. Whether companies are doing this, however, is still not clear.