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Greynet Usage is on the Rise

Security Company Facetime has announced the launch of an online resource that allows System Administrators to control the installation of Greynets.

Greynets are Internet-enabled, communication applications that are typically installed by end users without the sanction of corporate network workers. They include public IM clients, P2P file sharing, anonymisers, IPTV and consumer VoIP clients.

According to the 2007 survey Greynets in the Enterprise: Third Annual Survey of Trends, Attitudes and Impact, conducted by NewDiligence Research and commissioned by FaceTime, the number of greynet applications installed at a typical work location has increased significantly in the past year. According to the survey, the number of work locations with eight or more greynet applications in use has almost tripled in the last three years.

“With so many greynet applications freely available online, the IT security manager must examine the behaviour of the company’s own workers, and understand the nature of these greynets before setting and enforcing security and management policies,” said Cabri. “ provides a resource for understanding the true nature of these stealthy applications, to aid in making policy decisions about their use on the corporate network.”

The costs of greynet usage can be very high. In the recent survey, IT managers reported spending an average of nearly $289,000 annually to repair or re-image company PCs after malware attacks that occurred over greynets. On average, IT managers experience nearly 39 incidents per month that require some kind of repair or remediation to end user PCs and each repair requires, on average, about nine hours of work.

“We’re providing enterprise IT with the information they need to manage the new work environment where employees feel empowered to download the applications they determine necessary to do their jobs,” said Cabri. “Workers take these applications for granted as a just another convenient way to do business, keep up with friends and take a well-deserved break during work hours, but IT understands that the potential costs are very real and very high.”

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.