Friday, May 14, 2010

Sleuthing Your Own Employees


Are you sure your very own employees are not divulging non-public information on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn? There are certainly potential issues relating to the appropriateness of social networking while on-the-job (addressed in an earlier article on this blog), but more and more employers have a presence on these trendy sites and in many instances, encourage it. However, there may need to be protections for your business from your very own employees according to a Blogger News Network, April 6, 2010 article on the topic. (http://www.bloggernews.net/124226)
Really -- who needs thieves, when our own employees can be duped by users of crafty social networking sites to share logins and passwords to our company network. The above-referenced article describes one test of such a fact pattern which found nearly half of all the employees tested fell for the demands of a well-crafted, illegitimate duplicate site of their employer’s.
It’s nevertheless hard to put too much blame on the vulnerable employees – the duplicate site looked like very credible outreach from their HR department. And a recent Time Magazine article reported 70% of US HR officers reported utilizing social networking sites to screen employees. (“Social Networking Sites Can Lead to Legal Pitfalls,” http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/stories/2010/04/05/focus3.html?b=1270440000^3132331) This begs the point that internal policies for any workplace can only help give guidance in this situation.
Because we can’t expect the social networking sites to do our sleuthing for us! As the Blogger News Network story suggests, employers ought best appoint a site administrator to oversee work-related online employee interfacing for the time being. And the best legal defense remains the best offensive strategy and taking extra measures to protect access to company websites and having a corporate policy/training on the topic just makes sense.
Sue B Martines, J.D.

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