Technology Computer & Networking security

Are Your Employees Leaking Company Data on Facebook?

If your organization is one of the many that allows its employees to access Facebook from their work computers, you may want to educate users on what not to share with the world so they don't inadvertently leak information that might help your competition

Your competition is probably looking for a competitive edge and may be using social networking sites to help them gain one.

Let's look at some ways that critical information might be leaving your organization and show you what you can do to prevent it

1. Current Employment Information May Help Your Competition Recruit

If your competition is trying to recruit your personnel, what better way then to use Facebook's Graph Search and query on "people who work for XYZ Company"? If your employees have listed this information in their profile then Facebook will return a nicely organized listing of people who work for your company.

Advise your employees that listing their current employer may put them at risk for being targeted for social engineering attacks and other companies trying to gain competitive intelligence. if you feel that the risk is high, consider mandating (via company policy) that they do not list company information on social network profiles. They need to understand that a risk to the company is a risk to their livelihood as well if competition gains competitive intelligence that gives them an edge which could eventually put your company out of business.

2. Selfies and Other Photos Might Show More Than Intended

Selfies are all the rage, but depending on whats in that picture your employee just took of himself, herself, or something they're working on, could provide your competition with knowledge of things such as the kind of equipment you use, views of prototypes of products, and all manner of other things that might inadvertently make their way into otherwise innocent photos that your employees post to Facebook.

Educate your employees on the potential dangers that cameras in the workplace impose. Put in place a no camera phone policy in areas that contain sensitive information that might accidentally get captured in a photo.

3. Status Updates Can Hold a Treasure Trove of Useful Information

Another avenue for data leakage is via your employees status updates. Consider the fact that merely talking about a project completion date, schedule slip, or something of that nature might let your competition know that your product might not make it to market on time. This might be all the information they need to step up their pace of production so that their product might be the only one available since your employee let slip that your product is going to be delayed.

Again, educate your employees of the potential damage that they could do by sharing work-related information in their status updates. Create a security policy to ensure that they understand the risks and know that there are consequences for talking about work in their status updates.

4. Location Information Might be Sensitive Data

Another source of competitive intelligence that is often overlooked is location information. The mere fact that your employees mention or tag their location can let your competition know more about things like where to find the bar that they hang out at where they might be able to overhear work-related conversations. Customer and supplier locations could also be useful information.

Request that employees remove geotag information from any pictures they post while on company travel.

The Bottom Line:

Employees need to understand that their responsibility to protect company information extends beyond the walls of the office. Social media can be a great source of competitive intelligence and they should always have that in the back of their minds before they post anything work-related to social media sites such as Facebook.

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