More than three-fourths of the businesses responding to a recent survey said they used social networking for business purposes in 2012. The survey also showed that about half of those businesses allow for personal use of social networks at work. “Businesses are embracing this media,” says Daniel Ornstein, cohead of the Proskauer’s International Labor & Employment Law Group, which conducted the annual global survey.
Social networking is “a great business tool,” he says. The company can run into trouble, however, if it does not use that tool properly. The survey found that only about a third of the businesses using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn monitor what employees post to company sites or to their own accounts while at work. This level of unchecked usage can lead to policy breaches, legal concerns, and a host of other problems.
Of course, manually monitoring such activity would be labor intensive. Fortunately, companies can employ technological solutions to monitor the use of social media in the workplace. These security applications scan the content an employee plans to post in real time, enforcing a company’s specific policies through granular controls. This type of security application seeks to provide a balanced approach to protecting a business’s brand and marketability while ensuring the protection of employees’ rights and privacy.
One such technology is EdgeWave Social, distributed by EdgeWave. This cloud-based security application, which is primarily designed for mid-sized education and service provider markets, is intended to give companies managed access to employee activity on social networking sites, filter threats, and protect proprietary information. The product was formerly sold in conjunction with EdgeWave’s iPrism, a Web-based security program. But the social tool recently became a standalone product, allowing for companies who have existing Web security contracts to use it with those other services. It works alongside any Web-filtering programs so that companies don’t have to worry about existing firewalls or other security filters, says Steve Brunetto, director of product management at EdgeWave.
In addition to helping to ensure that social media activity isn’t the source of malware and spam entering the company network, the EdgeWave Social application helps to mitigate what Brunetto calls “human risks,” including “anything that could get [companies] in trouble with compliance or regulations.”