Information leaks on social networks : that’s not the problem

Summary : businesses see social networks as possible channels for information leaks caused by negligence. What is right. But their retort, that is mainly technological, does not solve anything because social networks are only one of the many channels that can make risks become true, not the cause of the risk. As a matter of fact the largest social network in the world is the street. If a global approach through awareness and accountability will help to deal with the whole risk, solutions that are being currently implemented are only window-dressing regarding to the many channels information can use to leak. Human issues can’t be solved by technology only and firewalls will never replace trust.

It’s obvious that information leaks is a sensitive point for businesses and the risk of employees being negligent on social networks has to be taken seriously. Hence the need for limiting this risk. Most of time the response relies on technology. That solves a part of the problem but is far from being enough.

As a matter of fact, prohibiting any connection to these sites or filtering outgoing information may limit the risk. But such an approach has weaknesses. It only works on corporate devices. At the moment people use their mobile or connect from home the risk is here gain. Making employees aware of the risks caused by their own behaviors is more useful because, in some ways, tools are only the vehicle behaviors use to make information flow. Adopting this approach helps dealing with some of the consequences but none of the causes.

The largest social network is not Facebook or Twitter but…the world, life, the street. And no technology will prevent anyone to do anything there except accountability. The good side of this approach is that, when it’s successful, it works with any device, anytime, anywhere.

We all have examples to tell. This group of coworkers of Bank xxxxxx having a drink and talking about their employer’s solvency, not being conscious everyone was listening to them. These two executives discussing their secret new corporate strategy at lunch. Everyone around appreciated. This group of employees of YYYYY vacationing together and discussing, around the pool, of lay-off program they were secretly working on. The problem that, even if they were on the middle of the Indian Ocean there were lots of french people in the hotel. One more thing. I would like to thank the sales rep of ZZZZ that were discussing their plan to sign with a customer in the plane….since I was meeting the same client a couple of years later my colleagues and I make the best possible use of it. I also think about all the people that can’t prevent from working in trains or planes, making it easy for anyone to see what’s on their beautiful HD screen.

Of course such things never happen. I’m even sure that in the above mentioned companies, social networks are filtered or blocked. Human issues won’t be solved by technology and firewalls will never replace trust.



Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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