An enterprise IT security manager's work is never finished. If they aren't worrying about data breaches, it's stolen smartphones. If it's not smartphones, it's viruses.
Now, according to a recent study conducted by VanDyke Software and Amplitude Research, security managers are worried about how employees use social media.
In a survey of 364 IT professionals, Amplitude Research found that 40 percent of respondents are concerned about the data security threats posed by social media, including viruses, information leaks and employee oversights.
As more companies utilize social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, for anything from marketing campaigns to project collaboration, these threats have become more pressing. What one employee may think is an inconsequential Tweet about a day at the office may actually turn out to be a sensitive bit of information that could result in a fine from industry regulators or, at least, an embarrassment for the company.
According to the study, viruses, data and information leaks and intrusion risks are the top social media concerns among IT professionals – each cited by 19 percent of respondents. Nine percent of respondents cited employee carelessness and malware, while 6 percent expressed concerns about privacy.
Last year, Gartner predicted social media would become a much bigger part of enterprise operations. In fact, according to the research firm, social networking services will become the primary means of interpersonal communications in 20 percent of businesses by 2014.
Given the surging popularity of social media in recent years, IT security managers would be well advised to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs into their enterprise data protection policies. Short of completely blocking access to such web content – a solution that many companies currently use – businesses can at least attempt to monitor and regulate employee activity, making sure their actions do not put the business at risk.