Workplace Social Media Habits: Handling Security Risks

While one third of employers in the US are using social media to support their marketing efforts, they’re also worried about giving employees free rein to social media, no matter how harmless in nature the communications may be.

Chris Crum went over survey results conducted by CareerBuilder. The results were interesting and confirmed that companies actively use social media tools to reach not only customers but also potential employees.

But…are there potential security risks?

Responsibility + Tracking Software: Sufficient Protection?

We need to grapple with the nagging question posed by Crum: how much control can companies wield over employee use of social media?

One view is that companies should allow employees free access to social media – provided the word “responsibility” is hammered into each and every employee. After all, company data that is accidentally leaked publicly affects not only the company, but also employees, officers, suppliers, community watchers, and service providers.

Another view, of course, is the good ‘ol finger wagging: NO! Absolutely not, employees can’t log into their Facebook or Twitter (or whatever) accounts during office hours.

But, surprisingly, there’s a third view: co-opting employees and making them information gatherers (or spies).

As far-fetched as it may seem, there are some who claim that employers encourage employees to spend time on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to see if they might obtain information that will thwart the competition, or in some way be valuable to the company. And given just how much information is floating around out there in cyberspace, it’s not that strange an idea. Ethical? That’s a different topic we’ll leave for another blog.

Introducing Socialite

Still, regardless of whether employes want to turn employees loose on the social media landscape, keep them completely outside the perimeter, or send them on friendly little re-con missions into neutral or even enemy territory, they still need a software solution to make sure the policy du jour is being followed. And for that, there’s Socialite.

Mentioned by Crum in his article, Socialite, is a really neat (to use the technical term) software application introduced by FaceTime Communications. Its purpose? A compliance solution for social networks. This means that companies can install the software and keep track of what employees are streaming into social media when they’re using corporate networks.

Socialite has specific benefits. Among them:

  • Blocks sensitive data from leaking out

  • Gives IT managers the capability to monitor Facebook and its hundreds of applications and which employees are using these applications

  • Allows management to pre-approve outgoing content

  • Enables IT personnel to capture all data for archiving into eDiscovery

There is no doubt that given the continued growth of social media and vexing issues it poses for companies, Socialite will see additional competition in the very near future.

Social Media Checklist

And on a final note, to protect corporate interests and to maintain efficient security controls over social media, companies are reminded to:

  • Review their IT policies – particularly those that cover employees’ use of the company email for personal reasons,

  • Convince managers not to “friend” subordinates

  • Evaluate any possible loopholes in the company’s social media policy

  • Implement elaborate security controls for confidential information

  • Use common sense!

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