Facebook now claims 300 million active users. And Twitter, has 6 million monthly unique visitors. As more employees use mobile devices and their desktops to access social media sites, it poses an increasing security risk both for user and organizations.
And according to a survey recently conducted by IANS, a Boston-based research company that focuses on information security issues, more companies are starting to address concerns by creating a social media policy.
Because social media will not likely disappear (In fact, more are more likely to develop.), an organization needs to create guidelines to help protect their confidential data. Here are a few things to consider when crafting your own policy:
- Communicate with employees and emphasize current policy. If it’s not acceptable to discuss new business at a live networking event, then it’s not acceptable to post it on Twitter or Facebook. The social media platform may change, but the principle remains the same. “Loose lips sink ships” isn’t just a quote for the military. You may already have a policy in place regarding sharing information. Include it in a social media policy.
- Use social media policies as an additional tool for your employee awareness program. When you develop a policy, and emphasize it with training classes, email reminders, or media – employees remember how important it is to protect the company’s intellectual property. As you explain to employees that social media just gave them a megaphone to broadcast; and with that comes responsibility, more of them will think twice before sharing something that they’ll know is inappropriate.
- Work with both the human resource and marketing department. To put a positive spin on usage, it’s good for employees to realize what they can post on their accounts. In fact, your employees can become an in-house public relations firm as they share with their followers the great things about their workplace. Allowing employees to have influence in an organization’s message will give them a sense of ownership in its success.
- Have a password vault available for each employee. One of the most common ways a hacker gains access to accounts is by discovering a password and then reusing that password to gain access to a person’s other social media accounts. KeePass is a great, open- source version to help secure passwords. Encourage employees to change passwords often.
Keep policies current to match new developments within the social media industry. Be as specific as possible and have ongoing awareness sessions to ensure everyone is on board. By planning ahead and communicating expectations clearly, a company can significantly decrease their level of vulnerability by an employee’s misuse of social media.