Best Practices for Securely Utilizing Social Networking Sites in Business Processes - Slide 4

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Companies that use a protocol, such as OAuth, to delegate authorization (e.g., function of applications) with social media sites, need to be cognizant of the security policies those sites have in place internally. This is a critical factor in determining the level of trust a company should put in the identity data resulting from social networking channels.

Companies that trust the fact that users are who they say they are because they can delegate authorization to a specific social media site risk overstepping the boundary of legitimate “trust”, as social identities are hardly authoritative anyone can sign up for one free of charge and promote fake identifying information. The bottom line? Companies should treat social identities, and users’ ability to authenticate themselves via social identities, as little more than a convenience. They should not rely upon the authenticated identity, or the identity data from a social profile as authoritative… or anything they’d otherwise base a sensitive transaction upon.

There has been a lot of discussion around the security risks associated with social networking sites, especially when it comes to malicious attacks carried out by cyber criminals. But employees disclosing confidential data and the secure usage of social identities in business processes are quickly emerging as other areas of apprehension for IT admins and business managers.

Companies are increasingly using identity data created on social media sites to conduct business transactions, as it often provides for improved efficiency and better communication with customers. In fact, a number of identity and access management (IAM) protocols, such as OAuth, have emerged that facilitate identity-based interactions between businesses and social media sites. But organizations that rely upon identity information provided by third parties, such as Facebook and Twitter, must balance the benefits of doing so with the security and liability risks that can result.

Lighthouse Security Group has compiled the following tips to help companies securely use social networking sites in business processes.

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