The Facebook at Work Dilemma & 5 Ways to Deal with It
It’s one of the hottest topics in the world. It’s also a touchy subject for employers.
Facebook reports that it has 2.27 billion users worldwide. In the United States, there are 214 million active Facebook users, approximately 2/3 of the US population.
Chances are most of your employees are on Facebook.
While Facebook is a great platform for various reasons it also comes with inherent risks to your business.
Many employers completely block social media sites like Facebook to prevent the risks. Many businesses completely ignore Facebook and the potential risks.
The risks are serious enough that it may cost you your business. Ignoring Facebook should not be a social media plan.
5 Risks to Your Business on Facebook
1. Leaked Intellectual Property, Proprietary Information or Sensitive Client Information
Sharing to social media is so easy. You can do it from your smartphone, tablet or work computer.
It’s so easy that information is often shared that should not be shared, and many times it’s not intentional.
The internet is great but it’s also permanent. Once information is leaked on social media it’s out there for potentially millions of people to see.
Employees might inadvertently share information on Facebook that could be detrimental to your business. What might seem like an innocent selfie at work may include HIPAA information and the employee might not even realize that he/she shared this.
2. Lost Productivity
This is a little easier to understand. If employees are on Facebook while at work, whether it’s their workstation or a personal phone, that means there’s lost productivity.
It’s difficult to completely discourage Facebook usage or internet browsing while at work. However, a strong social media policy will ensure your employees understand what is acceptable and what is not.
3. Network or Server Compromise
Facebook is great for so many reasons. Lost connections, communication, seeing what’s going on in family and friend’s lives, and sharing ideas are some of what makes Facebook so awesome.
It’s also no secret that bad things happen on Facebook. You have undoubtedly heard of an account compromise or a click to an unwanted website.
Well, an account compromise or click to an unwanted website can compromise your critical servers or business network. The seemingly innocent click may help a less than scrupulous person gain access to sensitive systems.
4. Inappropriate Conversations
Facebook Messenger is a powerful tool. It can be used to communicate with people all over the world. You can play games with others. You can market to people using Messenger. You can even request money from others.
That should be enough to scare you but imagine two employees chatting up on Facebook Messenger about things that should not be discussed in the workplace or sharing information that is not meant to be shared.
This information is now that much more easily compromised if a smartphone is stolen or a Facebook account is hacked.
5. Company Reputation
One of the things that make social media platforms so great is the ability to communicate with businesses.
It’s also one of the things that make social media dangerous.
I have seen disgruntled employees leave scathing reviews of a business that let them go, on Facebook. Once a review is left it is very difficult to get it removed, even if it is false.
While reviews are public, and you become aware of them almost immediately, you may not be aware of what your less visibly disgruntled employees are saying in Facebook Groups or other not as visible places on Facebook.
Your company’s reputation can take a hit, especially if social channels are not being monitored.
5 Ways to Mitigate Employee Facebook Usage Risks
1. Create a Strong Policy
This is one area that so many small to medium businesses fail.
Creating a strong social media policy that clearly defines what is and isn’t acceptable should be as important as an employee handbook and tax forms. In fact, include it with your employee handbook.
Every social media policy will be different. At Nwaj Tech we do believe that employees should share “some” of the work life. Clients and potential clients like to see this. But it might not be the right thing for your business. Create a policy for your business requirements, even if it means no social media while at work.
2. Block Social Media Sites
Another option is to block social media sites altogether. You should block certain types of websites anyway, so it might be best to block all social media websites as part of that policy.
This might seem extreme but in some cases it is necessary.
Another area that many businesses miss out on is education. The best defense in any information security plan is education.
Educating your employees on the dangers and pitfalls of using Facebook, especially at work, will help alleviate some of the potential risks that exists when employees use Facebook at work.
An added benefit to educating your employees might be that you also teach them how to be safe overall on Facebook.
At Nwaj Tech we offer Social Media Safety Courses for children. This would be a great idea for you to include in your social media education for your employees.
Monitoring social media should be a part of your business marketing plan. Monitoring also helps address any employee posts/shares that might go against your social media policy or worse.
There are lots of ways to monitor social media channels today. You can monitor from the social platforms natively, but this will prove to be tedious and time-consuming.
There are plenty of third-party tools that allow you to monitor for brand mentions and keywords.
At Nwaj Tech we use Hootsuite to monitor social media but there are lots of great tools that can help you do the same.
5. Get Insurance
Cyber Insurance is a real thing albeit relatively new. This is something we would encourage any business to investigate.
Having insurance will help mitigate some of the risk involved in the event an employee causes financial harm with their Facebook activities. It might not help with your business’ reputation, but it could save your business financially.
Facebook is a great tool for so many reasons. We certainly enjoy using Facebook for our business and personal lives.
It can also be a very dangerous tool if used without regard for potential damage to a person or company, or if used to intentionally cause harm.
Like any other information technology, it’s best to address concerns and potential risk before they happen. A proactive approach in technology is always a better approach.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to discuss your potential risk with you (no obligation).