Employees aged 55 and above call for more guidance from employers on social networking procedures
Nearly three-in-ten (28%) UK employees view social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn as real risk to their own personal security, according to a new study.
Research conducted by risk consultancy Protiviti also found that one-in-six (17%) UK employees consider social networking a major risk to corporate security.
According to the study, privacy and security are major concerns for users, with employees calling for clearer guidelines on social media usage in the workplace.
In the study, 27% of workers of the respondents said that more should be done to explain to staff the principles of using social media in the workplace, compared with a mere 3% who said the opposite.
Among those who favoured clearer guidelines on the use of social media, those aged 55 and over dominated, with one in three (30%) expressing a need for this, more than any other age group.
Nearly three quarters (74%) of the workers aged 18-24 years claimed to engage with social newtorking sites every day. This contrasts with 21% of those aged 55-65 years.
Protiviti UK managing director Jonathan Wyatt said the big challenge for organisations is that public and private use of social networking sites has blurred.
"On one hand, employees are using social networking tools for managing activities in their private life – but accessing these tools from corporate systems. On the other hand, employees are being asked to carry out specific tasks relating to work via the same social networks," said Wyatt.
"Opening up access in the workplace to social networks can create long-term benefits, however, there are many risks involved, including information security breaches."
Among the key security risks found in the study are: potential leakage of sensitive information; unintentional upload of Trojans or viruses to employees’ computers; increased targeting of individuals who are associated with the company for social engineering attacks; and individuals falling prey to fraudulent scams.
Wyatt said, "Social media has provided a new environment for criminals seeking an alternative way to commit fraud and other crimes. Employers must set out clear guidelines to help control information supplied, and which, when shared via social networks, will benefit a company’s internal and external image. Having social media guidelines in place allows management to regulate the control of internal and external information by employees. This not only mitigates the risk of reputational loss through error or fraud, but also reduces the likelihood of information being leaked externally."