In recent years businesses have had to address many new issues. One in particular can leave business owners and managers unsure how to tackle it—social media. There are usually two perspectives when it comes to allowing end users to access social networks: Those that believe it’s not a real problem and let their users access whatever they wish; and those that block all access.
It seems to many that Millennials are always online, connected via their mobiles, tablets, and PCs. Always communicating and interacting with friends on social media sites. It’s become a habit and for many an obsession. Always being connected leads to distraction, resulting in a lack of focus on specific tasks. This means some tasks are taking longer than they should, while others are not being worked on to their fullest potential.
According to the latest Webroot SMB threat report, over 24% of respondents reportedly had their systems compromised via social media sites. That’s a huge number and one that will likely rise as younger employees make their way into the workplace. So exactly how do these businesses open themselves to attack by allowing employees to access social media sites?
Here’s a list of the most common red flags we see:
If your organization embraces access to social media how can you help mitigate the risks? Firstly, you need the right tools and security measures in place. These include (but are not limited to):
There are many great products out there offering these very basic security features. They will monitor traffic entering the network and block access to known dangerous websites and links. If a user accidentally or knowingly clicks on a link or download, this active protection will automatically block it.
Some degree of user awareness training should also be used so that everyone has a basic understanding of the potential risks. Remember your end users are your most valuable asset but also your weakest link when it comes to security.
Having acceptable usage policies that clearly define which websites are ok to visit (and for how long) helps set the boundaries. Without one your employees and users have no clear outline as to what is acceptable and what’s not. Not only does this make compliance very clear, but in the event of any disciplinary action, having these policies in place will make your life a lot easier.
Of course, it’s not all bad news. Social media can offer significant business benefits to organizations. The obvious ones are free advertising; brand awareness; and lead generation. But there are others that you may not have thought about before:
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses to help spread their message and expand their brand awareness. However, any business that allows widespread usage by its employees needs to take security concerns seriously and try to proactively manage any loss in productivity. Using the correct tools and actively monitoring them along with a good user cyber security awareness training should help to mitigate some of these issues.
Ian Waters is a senior partner at MSP Southern IT Networks Ltd and works as the technical director. Ian has been working in IT for over 15 years since finishing his Degree in computer science and artificial intelligence. An Office 365 expert and author of the book Microsoft® Office 365®—Exchange™ Online Implementation and Migration—Second Edition. You can follow Ian on his personal blog here.
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