IT departments are facing an uphill struggle to regain control of the way they enforce policy and practice within their organisations, exposing themselves to new and greater security threats and putting increased strain on service desks.

A recent study found that despite the fact that the majority of firms do have strict policies around the use of social media (73%) and Internet downloads (89%) in place, one in three were unsure that they were being adhered to, resulting in IT issues and an increasing number of requests being channelled to service desk staff.

This claim is supported by the fact that among staff surveyed, 55% have downloaded software from the internet to a work PC. Of which, almost half (48%) of those downloads are non-work related. As a result, a quarter of employees have had to contact IT service desks to fix problems resulting from non-work related downloads.

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have changed the way we communicate with one another. Today more than ever end-users are able to easily download software and manage the way they use IT – essentially making everyone their own IT manager. One of the downsides is that more often than not, staff don’t understand the consequences of their actions. As applications evolve, end users downloading new software add-ons, exposing their company to problems and increasing the volume of incidents for the service desk team to manage.

The study found that IT managers see Social Media as the biggest threat to emerge in recent years, with more than half (62%) saying they will continue to see it as a threat in the future, as they find themselves fighting against increasingly digital-savvy employees.

With social media certain to evolve and become even more prevalent, IT departments will find themselves fighting more fires, resulting in greater resourcing and financial pressures. Software can help manage these challenges by using ITIL-verified and process-driven incident, problem, and change management solutions. To fix the problem though, the service desk needs to be more closely aligned to ensure policy and procedure around staff use of IT is adhered too in the first place.