Facebook, Twitter need corporate security policies

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter open threats to sensitive corporate data that businesses need to deal with aggressively, Interop attendees were told.

"Social networks are a security game changer," says Ben Rothke, a security consultant with BT Professional Services during a security session at the conference. Data leak prevention gear and traditional network security technology can do nothing to stop sensitive data from being innocently posted on these sites, he says.

The issue is that well-meaning employees may inadvertently leak this information because they are swept up in the naive illusion that everyone viewing their posts and making queries are who they say they are and don't have malicious intent, Rothke says.

REAL WORLD THREAT: Symantec says Facebook applications leaked information

Businesses should have a social media strategy that is explained to employees and that is designed to meet the goals of each company. The U.S. Marines, for example, ban the use of Facebook, period, he says. That wouldn't be a good strategy for a public relations firm that needs to engage clients on a social level, he says. The spectrum of how to handle social networks ranges from blocking to containing to disregarding to embracing, he says.

Employees need to know how they can identify themselves in social networks without running afoul of corporate policies, so education is a big part of the solution, Rothke says. Employees need to know whether they have authorization to post on the company's behalf and, if so, what the restrictions are.

They also need to be aware of what corporate data should not be put online, not only for competitive and privacy reasons, but also for regulatory reasons. For example, a stock trader who tweets a rumor about a stock could bring down a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

Awareness training should be comprehensive and it ought to be repeated periodically to keep it fresh in employees' minds.

The corporation needs a plan for managing its online reputation, which includes what is said about it and what its employees say on social networks.

Because of their popularity, sites such as Facebook are also havens for malware scams that can lead to corporate networks being infected with traditional problems like viruses and Trojans, Rothke says.

Using social networking sites to screen potential employees can also be a sticky problem. Even if information isn't gleaned there that rules out a candidate, there may be information that could result in accusations of discrimination. For example, if a social site reveals a person has a disability, the individual could argue in a lawsuit that the disability was the reason for not being hired, he says.

Human resources should also be asked to evaluate the legality and fairness of discipline meted out because of social networking activity that violates corporate policies.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags unified communicationsbusiness issuesInternet-based applications and servicesapplicationsBTNetworkinginternetFacebookcorporate issuessymantecsecurityWeb 2.0softwaretwittercollaborationsocial media

More about BT AustralasiaFacebookInteropLANSecurities and Exchange CommissionSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Tim Greene

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place