Social media is all about sharing, being social. No doubt your company and your employees are interested in social networking. They’re probably even doing it at work. Possibly even picking up malware from social networking site ads. Private life and work lives often meet on social media, especially with younger generations in the workforce who don’t necessarily distinguish between the two. Ninety-one percent of Gen Y students and workers think that the age of privacy is over; they aren’t worried about the data that’s captured or stored about them. If they don’t even believe in it, how will they protect your company’s privacy?
Your young employees are increasingly the security challenge faced by organizations. They’re mobile and they’re mixing their private and professional lives together throughout the day while social networking, possibly on a work device.
Mitigating the social media security threat
Make sure all your employees know what information they can or cannot share publicly. Commercially sensitive information to you might seem like something interesting to tweet about to someone else.
The privacy setting fallacy
Many social media site users are under a false sense of security because they have strong privacy settings. Yes, privacy settings are an important part of keeping what you put on Facebook private, but only from other Facebook users, not the owners of the platform itself. The owners of a social media site may be collecting and selling user data. Any information on social media sites should be considered public. If the information shouldn’t be public knowledge, don’t post it.
Cyber criminals target social networking sites
Keeping social media secure goes beyond what might be shared by users. It absolutely includes the links they click on. Social media sites have a huge audience, making them desirable targets for cyber criminals. Online advertisements, common to social media sites, are 182% more likely to be malicious than pornography.
You need a social media policy
Social media is too big, and too risk to be ignored as a security threat. You need a social media policy. You aren’t going to be able to stop it; you need to manage it.
Start with an understanding of the risks social media poses for your organization. Create policies and regulations to mitigate the risks, and then empower your employees to take responsibility. Social media changes quickly, and your policies should be reviewed regularly to make sure they are keeping up with the changes.
Bottom line, social media isn’t going anywhere and you won’t be able to stop your employees from using it at work. Blocking access to social networking sites is not the answer; it doesn’t work. Keeping the company secure while your employees are social takes understanding, education and communication. If you haven’t put a policy in place yet, the time is now. Someone’s probably tweeting about your secret ingredient right now!