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When LinkedIn launched in 2003 I was an IT Manager for a Recruitment firm.  I was very quickly asked by management to block this site, citing many risks to the business.  After a very large rebellion from the Sales Consultants the Management took a u-turn and I was asked to unblock it.

Management thinking was perfectly logical:

  • Why have multiple silos of company data spread across and outside of the business?
  • Why would you want your consultant to have all of their business contacts stored in a system of      which you have no control over?
  • People are here to sell not procrastinate updating their CVs online!

Oh the irony of what my business now delivers (social media strategy amongst other things…)

Thankfully, times have changed and now most recruiters have access to multiple social media sites which is great for Sales but IT managers are often the ones preventing access due to “genuine” risks to the business.

With the spread of Social Media the number of risks to your business has also grown, these include:

  1. Malware / Targeted Attacks - Social Media is fun and encourages users to experiment and participate in new things.  It’s all about the “click here” and “download this app”.  This is a hacker’s ideal playground and very difficult for users to identify what is real and what is a scam or a dangerous link or app that could infect a machine or the entire network.
  2. Revealing Secrets - Did you ever play the email round robin game that asked you for your pets first name and mother’s maiden name, which gave you your “alternative” name?  Did you realise that these two words are THE 2 key security questions that were used by websites (and banks) to verify you.  Millions of people had no qualms revealing them to the world or to the hackers mining this data?
  3. Spam - email spam was a massive problem with some estimates suggesting 95% of all emails were spam related.  Social Networking sites are already aware of social media spam but it could have a similar impact on time and resources if not managed correctly.
  4. Data Security - businesses hate the idea of data walking out the door, social media allows users to create their own silo of business contacts and data, which the business has very little control or visibility over.
  5. Smaller organisations who employ BYOD (whether they know they are or not) may result in looser security controls which could have far reaching impacts.

These are some of the main risks and challenges of Social Media usage in a business.  What would you add? And the next question, how do you manage or limit these risks?

Part 2 – Managing Social Media Security

We run LinkedIn for Recruiters courses for time-starved recruiters, who think they have a handle on LinkedIn, but want to improve their profile, increase their relevant application response and place more jobs. Read about the courses here.

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