London, England, UK–A leading security expert is warning businesses that social media is a viable risk. Companies who utilize social platforms–in particular entities which facilitate social profiles vis-a-vis their employees–are engaging in a business practice which could potentially lead to damage their public reputation and/or cause legal troubles.
“Some businesses have opened up social media for their employees and ended up in court for failing to control what was being said. Some were held liable in libel cases. Staff have had to be laid off, solicitors involved and public relations restored – and recovery from social media transgressions is not easy or cheap,” wrote Tim Holman in the UK Guardian, CEO of 2-sec and president of ISSA-UK, the association of security professionals.
Mr. Holman cautions companies that use social media for public relations, outreach, customer service and for other purposes, can present an array of problems. The information security consultant states that allowing employees to be liaisons to customers usually relies on little more than good faith.
Because those employees representing a company through social networks, they could-well make public a trade secret, divulge inside practices, or make promises which cannot be fulfilled, “One key problem is that many employees still don’t understand that what they say on social media channels can bring an employer into disrepute or divulge company secrets.”
The largest problem in social networking is the digital trial it leaves, regardless of changing identities. Companies and their employees should understand once something is published on Web 2.0 properties, it becomes a cyber record that can linger indefinitely. Even if the profile is deleted, there’s an excellent chance someone else has already captured or disseminated it.
Mr. Holman recommends businesses put in place policies exclusive to social media and have their employees routinely trained in proper practices.