Loose Social Media Lips Sink Companies

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Too Much Social Media Information

IT organizations are behind in their ability to police social media information.

The more people interact with each other online the more likely it is that they are going to inadvertently share something with someone they probably shouldn't have. Companies, of course, try to remind employees about these risks on a daily basis, but people, as we all know, are just all too human.


A new survey of 1,225 enterprises worldwide conducted by Applied Research on behalf of Symantec, finds that while most companies have embraced social media to one degree or another, too many of them are counting on the good sense of employees, rather than technology, to make sure that important intellectual property belonging to the company doesn't wind up in the wrong hands.

Part of the issue, says Trevor Daughney, Symantec senior manager for product marketing, is that a lot companies think that data loss prevention (DLP) technologies can't be extended to social media networks. As a result, they wind up relying more on threats to punish employees after the fact rather than taking a more proactive approach that prevents the breach from happening in the first place.

As social media becomes more commonly used across the business world, it's only a matter of time before we see the number of fines and other penalties associated with social media breaches start to ratchet up. In fact, the survey finds that typical IT organizations have to deal with, on average, nine social media-related breaches a year.

Given the fact that trying to prevent the usage of social media within the context of the enterprise isn't particularly practical, it's pretty clear that companies are going to need to rely more on DLP products that have been extended to social media networks. After all, there are a lot of courts in the world that define trade secrets as only something that companies took proactive measures to protect, which generally requires a lot more than just telling someone they shouldn't do something.

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