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This SPIE will explain the threats to information security posed by social media in business environments, followed by best practices to minimize risk.


Understanding and Mitigating Business Risk of Social Media in the
Workplace


Introduction


The nature of cyber threats is continually adapting to changing technology trends. Social media in particular is a trend that provides significant benefits for businesses. Social networking Web sites and applications offer a notable opportunity to target a new and far-reaching customer base with dynamic and engaging content. As a result, businesses are increasingly leveraging social media for marketing and other external communications. Threat actors, taking advantage of social media’s popularity, are adapting accordingly.

External social business efforts are infiltrating enterprise information technology through social business software (also known as social collaboration and enterprise social software), such as Yammer and Jive. Internal social networks (ISNs) are quickly becoming essential to optimizing business operations; and companies that fail to strategically deploy these technologies will operate at a competitive disadvantage.


Clearly, social media offers benefits of collaboration and communication that businesses cannot afford to ignore. However, social media presents some challenges if left unregulated. For example, access to social networking sites can raise productivity concerns by contributing to employee distractions. Also, access to social media in the office, as well as the instant communication abilities offered by ISNs, raises regulatory compliance and data leakage concerns.

Productivity loss and compliance are valid concerns, but businesses must also be aware of the threats to data integrity and confidentiality introduced by social media. Social media is invading employees’ lives, as well as corporate networks, at a rapid pace. Threat actors have taken notice and are utilizing social media in both targeted and mass cyber attack campaigns. As a result, concerns about social media risk are growing. The 2013 Global Information Security Workforce Study conducted by Frost & Sullivan and (ISC)² revealed that of respondents, percent rated social media as a top or high concern. Unfortunately, the risk from social media usage is also underestimated by a significant percentage of IT organizations. The study showed that as much as percent of IT organizations rated social media as a low concern, a non-concern, or simply didn’t know.

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Understanding and Mitigating Business Risk of Social Media in the Workplace

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