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“Log-out” is the hardest button to click. Can anyone deny that we are hooked on social media? Many of us do not even manage to hold back at work: taking our breaks to message friends on our open Facebook pages or reading what is happening on Twitter.

What at first seems an unimportant habit, can have serious repercussions.  Yes, an employee risks the chance of being caught in the act, but what about the company?

Osterman Research consultants have confirmed in their latest report that 18% of companies have suffered malware infections because of social networks.  Employees aren’t the only ones using these platforms, though.  Companies often have business profiles which makes it more difficult to detect the source of the problem. Imagen 1

According to this document, 73% use Facebook for work purposes, 64% use LinkedIn and 56% use Twitter.  Companies are also showing interest in collaborative platforms designed for them such as Microsoft SharePoint, different Cisco products, the Salesforce Chatter software solution and Connections, a platform developed by IBM.

All of these tools are useful to make a business more efficient, improve teamwork and speed decision-making within the corporation. Shared data, documents and activities are jointly managed using some of the options on the corporate platforms, while the social networks allow them to interact with customers, improve their public image and search for new employees.  This can also increase the possibility of a cyber-attack that can affect the company’s equipment where important information or passwords are saved to access services in the corporate cloud.

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Experts warn that the attacks may be caused by careless workers publishing content that includes a geographic location, or even by an employee who is actually working with cyber-criminals. The report, prepared as a guide for best practices within the company, also provides precautions and measures that these businesses can take to avoid the possibility of unpleasant consequences by:

  • Conducting an internal audit.  This will determine what social networks are being used for within the company and their benefits. We don’t want to ban the use of social media (which would affect the performance of workers and their relationships with customers).  The audit will help assess what is necessary.
  • Setting company rules.  Setting clear standards will determine a safe and acceptable way to use these platforms. First, experts should identify the people or positions who are entitled to use these platforms.
  • Establishing rights regarding surveillance or monitoring of employees while using social networks.

Technology and Training

Of course it is important to educate workers and inform them of the standards, rules and the consequences of breaking them but at the same time businesses need to control their systems and equipment. To do this, those responsible for the company must hire qualified personnel and maintain the technology and software needed to prevent attacks and minimize future risks. If you do not take these measures, the repercussions could cost your company a lot of money.