Education Remains an Essential Factor

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-09-24 Print this article Print


Companies should also consider using similar tools from other link-shortening services that provide the same function. Simple tools like those, along with training, can go a long way in reducing security issues.

5. Limit allowed social networks

Although it might sound counter-intuitive for a company that is encouraging the use of social media to limit the number of networks employees are using, it's a necessity. Employees don't need to update their friends on, an open source Twitter clone. They don't have to work with FriendBinder, a FriendFeed competitor. Keep it simple and only allow access to major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. If employees want to access other networks, they can do so at home. Such a policy makes social networks much simpler to police.

6. Educate IT staff

One of the most important things any company can do is ensure that its IT staff is up on all the issues that might be impacting social networks. Someone at the company should spend some time to know the news surrounding major social networks each week to ensure that if and when security issues arise, the company knows about them and can alert employees of their impact.

7. Keep computers patched

A recent study found that users patch potential security issues in software about half as quickly as operating-system patches. That's something that companies cannot afford to do. By ensuring that both the operating system and software is patched at all times, the impact some of the security outbreaks that occur on sites like Twitter and Facebook can be contained.

8. Share best privacy practices

One big way to ensure a social-network user is staying safer is to change privacy settings. Twitter, for example, allows users to block others that are sending out tweets with spam. By reminding employees of that option, companies can go a long way in limiting the number of malicious users that can exploit others on the corporate network.

9. Open the lines of communication

The worst thing a company can do is to ignore questions or issues employees might have about a social network. When an employee contacts their manager or IT staff about something they're concerned about, the issue should be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Listen to the issue, address it and move on. It's safer.

10. Don't fear it

Although the security issues are alarming, companies cannot start fearing social networks. There's no reason for it. Social networks are great marketing tools for companies, even with the security problems. If an employee is happy with their workplace, they will tell their friends. And in the end, the company might reap some of the benefits of that.

Remember: Social networks do more good than harm.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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