Monitor Risks as Employees Use Social Media

Your policies should inform employees that they’re responsible for the content they post on social media sites.

May 11, 2012

Fewer than 30% of large organizations will block employee access to social media sites by 2014, according to research from Gartner. That’s compared with 50% just two years ago.

The number of firms lifting social media blocks for employees is steadily growing, Gartner reports.

The growth of employee social media access can affect credit union information systems and social media policies. It’s a workplace trend that poses both threats and opportunities.

For example, social media platforms collect, process, share, and store a range of identity data—often more than corporate systems do.

Corporate identity and access management systems (IAM)—which ensure the right people access the right services— may require closer monitoring and upgrades to minimize the exposure to any number of security threats.

“Even in those organizations that block all access to social media, the blocks are often incomplete,” Gartner researchers say. “Certain departments and processes, such as marketing, require access to external social media, and employees can circumvent blocks by using personal smartphones. Companies should turn their attention to the effects of social media on IAM.”

Some of these effects include: 

  • Employees might say and do things on social media platforms that violate credit union policy or are counter to your professional expectations.
  • Intelligence-gathering programs must keep up with the explosion of social media users and profiles.
  • Corporate IAM programming determines the identities and guards security for consumers, job candidates, and employees.

Don’t ignore social media and social identity, Gartner warns. Determine how your credit union currently uses internal and external social media in both official and unofficial ways. Look for dissonance between your identity and access practices and identify needs, opportunities, and risks of social media

Policy points

“Off-duty” social media use policies are important for credit unions to incorporate for staff, says Joni Lovingood, CUNA Mutual Group’s senior risk management consultant.

To keep your credit union’s risk exposure low: 

  • Managers should not “friend” their direct reports; 
  • Employees must know they’re responsible for content they post on social media sites and must maintain a professional attitude; and,
  • Employees must use disclaimers when posting information about the credit union. 

Other social media policy and procedure tips from Lovingood include:

  • Define social media use expectations;
  • Inform employees they may only access social media websites consistent with security standards;
  • Make staff aware of the risks of revealing confidential data;
  • Monitor social media use through credit union resources; and
  • Explain the consequences for policy violations. 

LORA BRAY, CUNA’s research librarian, compiled the information in this article. Contact her at 608-231-4308.