Workplace social networking 'risk to personal security' say employees

Seventeen per cent of UK employees consider accessing social networks from the workplace ‘a major risk’ to enterprise security – and many are calling for clearer guidelines on social media usage on behalf of their employers.

According to a study from market research agency ICM on behalf of risk consultancy Protiviti, 28 per cent of staff surveyed believe that social media also poses a significant risk to their personal security.

Many UK organisations now use third-party social networks for marketing and other processes, including recruitment - but according to the Protiviti research findings, 27 per cent of employees said that more should be done by employers to explain the principles of social media and the issues around corporate and personal security risks.

The most frequent users of social networking sites are aged 18-24 years - 74 per cent claim to use these sites daily. By comparison, only 21 per cent of the 55-65 age group use these sites daily. This generational divide shows why 33 per cent of those aged 55+ would like to see clearer guidelines – the younger generation will soon be representing the majority of the UK workforce.

Key security risk areas highlighted by the research include:

• Increased targeting of individuals who are associated with the company for social engineering attacks.
• Individuals falling prey to fraudulent scams.
• Potential leakage of sensitive information.
• Unintentional upload of Trojans or viruses to employees’ computers.

“By allocating direct responsibility and establishing a unified risk management process, organisations can start to mitigate the threats they face,” says Protiviti managing director Jonathon Wyatt. “Having guidelines enables management to regulate the control of internal and external information flow by employees.  This reduces risk of reputational loss through error of fraud and the likelihood of information being leaked externally.”

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