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The top four risks companies face when socialising online

The top four risks companies face when socialising online

Jumping on the social media bandwagon isn’t as easy as the young’uns make it look. Blue Coat Systems’ Nigel Hawthorn lists the dangers to look out for.

July 11, 2011 10:46 by

2. Selective Social Networking Controls – Manage the actions your employees can take within social networking sites. For example, you may want to prevent employees from uploading attachments, photos or video to social media sites, thereby preventing risks of inadvertent data loss or risks to your corporate reputation. The key is to have granular control over what can be done within social networking. This requires a solution that not only looks at where the initial traffic is coming from (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, etc.), but also at what is being done within that application (email, posting messages, downloading attachments).

3. Caching – you can’t allow social media to overrun your network and adversely impact business critical applications. However, because social networking is becoming so integral to business, you cannot simply block it. What you can do is offset any potential performance degradation with caching, which allows you to locally store data and video files after an initial download and make them readily available to users who want to subsequently access them.

4. Policy flexibility – Set acceptable use policies within social media. You may choose, for instance, to block access to certain apps during work hours; or if you allow it, you may want to give it a lower priority, so it doesn’t impact business critical applications. The ability to delineate between social networking sites and specific applications or content within those sites is crucial to setting an effective acceptable use policy.

Maximising the use of social networking as a communication tool between companies and its partners and customers doesn’t to be a potential risk for the business. Embracing social media only requires the right security.

Nigel Hawthorn is the VP EMEA Marketing for Blue Coat Systems

From working with an Apple distributor in 1980 to VP EMEA Marketing now, Hawthorn has 25 years experience of computers and networking.  His international knowledge started in 1987 and has presented at security, e-commerce and networking forums in over 50 countries.  He has contributed to a number of computing books on protocols and security and lived in California for a number of years before relocating back to the UK as he was missing the rain.  He has worked for Blue Coat Systems for over 9 years.

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