You know when a social networking Web 2.0 micro-blogging phenomenon has made it when security firms are starting to release guides about it. Yes, managed security provider Network Box has become one of the first to the party with a new guide to secure use of Twitter.
Written as part of the firm's helpful "securing social media" series, it seeks to explain how you can actually allow what many employees may view as a fantastic business tool, without incurring extra risk.
"Increasingly, it is being used as a communications tool between companies and their customers, to address customer service issues, market new services, share information, or monitor and research what's being said about a company online," says the guide.
"The main risk is similar to that of social networks such as Facebook: trusting networks of people who are unknown to us in 'real' life."
As the guide rightly mentions, most of the Twitter security risks come from potentially malicious links posted by potentially fake account holders, or even from friends' accounts which have been hacked. The increasing number of Twitter applications from third parties can also increase your risk exposure because most ask for your Twitter password, the guide goes on.
"Much of the security on Twitter comes down to applying the same principles as in other media: create and apply a clear user policy; educate employees to use with caution; and keep tight controls on and update your existing security systems to reflect new kinds of use," advises Network Box.
"It is our recommendation that companies should explicitly reference Twitter and microblogs in their Internet and social media user policies."
Crucially, the guide also advises education seminars for staff alongside the usage policies. It has become a bit of a truism these days that AUPs are not worth the paper they're written on unless clearly communicated, and regularly updated and checked, but so few firms seem to adhere to this kind of best practice.
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