Social media in the workplace has evolved from being something that was thought of as a waste of time to something which is now generally acceptable to look at from time to time, especially while taking breaks. Despite its widespread acceptance, there are plenty of cybersecurity concerns that come along with social media.
The prime example is that of the professional networking site LinkedIn which has been a victim of several hacking incidents. 2012 saw a professional hacker named Yevgeniy Nikulin being sentenced to 88 months in jail for performing a hack that was estimated to have comprised LinkedIn accounts of 6.5 million users. The figure was later revealed to have been close to 100 million accounts.
This incident showcased just how much of a person’s information can be obtained from online networks, making it easier for hackers to carry on with their crimes. There are also sinister links that can be shared through social media, which have the ability to compromise entire systems of companies, especially if shared from mobile apps.
Securing social media
According to Ajay Singh, an author, there are five ways through which an organization can ensure that their employees using social media will not be detrimental to the business:
- The first step is to understand what social media is being used for currently in the workplace, how it is being used, and the advantages that the organization as a whole gain from employees using social media.
- The risks of using social media should then be assessed. Conducting risk assessments is a great way to do that and should be the protocol as it helps identify any present and potential risks that the company faces. Elements like malware and phishing attacks are the apparent sources of threat; however, risks such as leaving your social media account unattended are generally taken lightly but allow easy access for hackers.
- Business-related social media activities should only be allowed for only select employees who should then be given cybersecurity training. This may be difficult to achieve but is a necessary step towards underlining the need for good digital hygiene for all employees.
- There should be set policies in place which provide guidelines for employees in regards to their online activities. Mr. Singh suggests that all such policies should include:
- Appropriate regulatory and legal social media requirements
- Specified situations where social media use is allowed
- A code of conduct
- Proper training and cyber awareness programs
- Auditing of employees social media accounts
- Monitoring, reporting, authorization, and reviewing of social media content
- Incident response
5. A senior member should be appointed who will oversee the organization’s social media activity and ensure that all activities are conducted in a professional and secure manner.
Mr. Singh summarized that social media, just like everything else, possesses advantages as well as disadvantages for an organization and its employees. By having security protocols in place, an organization can help protect itself from the risks while also reaping the benefits of social media.