Providing employees with access to social media sites during work hours is important. A survey of business leaders showed that using social media tools wisely helped them increase revenue, improve marketing efficiency, and lower their cost of doing business. And HR executives have said that access to popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter improves employee satisfaction, which can safeguard retention.
Allowing access to social media sites without the ability to control it carries signification risks, including:
How your brand is presented and written about by employees should be addressed in your AUP, but unless you have technology in place to control social media activities at work, you will have few alternatives when problems occur. Protecting your brand is protecting your bottom line.
Cyber Harassment or Stalking
Cyber stalking and harassment by an employee or employees aimed at a co-worker is another risk faced by organizations that have failed to control social networking activities during business hours. The resulting litigation can subject your company to huge financial losses. Only visibility and control of employee interactions on social media sites can help mitigate these risks.
Employee access to non-work-related websites is nothing new and is often the reason companies choose to block social media completely. However, your organization may want to use social media to promote their products and services and have a need for some employees to have access. When blocking everyone is not an option, controlled access is the solution.
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Regulatory Compliance Issues
Your organization's policies regarding social media need to match the requirements of regulatory laws that govern your business. Restrictions against exposing customer or client information can be undermined by employees using social media carelessly. Your AUP and security policy need to address this, but you also need to have visibility into social media interactions concerning your organization.
Exposure of confidential information concerning your customers, clients, patients, and others and/or loss of intellectual property are also dangers that occur where information is freely exchanged. Whether data loss is due to inadvertent user actions or the result of deliberate acts, it is another significant risk of unmanaged social media at work.
Network Security Threats
Unfortunately, social media is a breeding ground for criminal exploits and threats of all kinds. Some of the threats to consider include:
- Phishing Scams - This method, which includes setting up fraudulent websites that mimic sites you trust, has expanded into the social networking realm with criminal hackers stealing your password and using your social media account to send criminal spam or corrupt or change your profile. It is also a way for hackers to gain entry into corporate networks to infect them with malware and viruses. The method relies on the familiarity of social networking users with the venues they use every day and their tendency not to question what seems familiar.
- Social Engineering Scams - The criminal approach to gaining a competitive advantage in a business setting can involve stealing identity information or intellectual property by using social media tactics. Because victims may never suspect foul play and nothing is done by force, social media presents a particularly dangerous threat for business users.
Granular, Policy-Driven Control of Social Media is the Answer
EdgeWave Social gives you granular control over employee interactions, allowing you to monitor and block the information you need to protect. And the ability to write unlimited rules means you can configure the solution to adapt precisely to your organization's needs. You can also use standardized templates and combine these features for comprehensive control over social media interactions in your organization. Granular enforcement means you can specify individuals or groups and apply policies and rules to them that suit your organization's requirements.