social-networking-risk
Social Media Marketing

Nigel Hawthorn (North America) - Social Networking Without the Risk Part 2

Safeguarding Against the Risks

My last article discussed the 4 major risks you face when you use social networking. I will now discuss how you can safeguard against those risks.

New Requirements to Keep Your Business Safe
While you find yourself compelled to allow social media to compete and thrive in today's global economy, you do not need to expose your business to undue risk. There are ways to protect against and mitigate the risks posed by social networking. Specifically, your solution needs to provide:

A Real-Time Web Defense - social networking is constantly changing, as are the tactics used by attackers to exploit it. As a result, your solution needs to analyze your web traffic on the fly and uncover threats that may be hidden there. Real-time analysis of dynamically changing links provides risk analysis and timely protection to keep social media safe. So when you see "hey you should take a look at this," you can either allow or deny based on the potential risk it poses.

Selective Social Networking Controls - to protect against data loss and comply with industry-specific regulations, you need to be able to 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).

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. In this way, you can enable access to social networking without compromising the performance of other traffic on the network.

Policy Flexibility - to manage productivity, you need to be able to set acceptable use policies within social media. You may choose, for instance, to block access to Farmville 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. With a flexible policy framework, you can prioritize and manage the activities that are allowed or disallowed, and when. 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. So, if you elect to block games, you can block both standalone games, as well as games within social media sites

Realizing the promise of social networking no longer needs to be a potential risk for the business. Embracing social media only requires the right security.

Nigel Hawthorn, vp of marketing (EMEA), Blue Coat Systems

 

 

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