Security and the Enterprise Social Network
by Matt Huber
By now, most people have heard of or are using a Enterprise Social Networks (ESN).
You are probably using one in the form of Instant Messengers, Chat clients, or bulletin boards in your company and haven’t put that label on it.
When we talk about these terms, they almost sound generic and archaic. But if you are new to them, the best way to describe these is to boil them down to their core components.
Remember AOL chat rooms? A/S/L anyone? How about Bulletin Board systems?
Those require admins to skim content to prevent the community from going up-in-flames.
What if we add those systems to the enterprise today and mix in your culture?
You may find that you have a pretty risky, yet rewarding tool to use. We call that Unsafe Collaboration.
Most companies, when evaluating use of a ESN, will want to understand how the system will be used and how goals will be measured. Additionally, how not to use the system is usually thought of. What we mean by this is accidental upload of confidential information or in the case of a bad actor posting information that can be leaked. Security breaches and information leaks are all too common.
What is also scary is that the companies managing these ESNs aren’t building them with enterprise grade security in mind. It’s truly the wild west if proper care isn’t taken when implementing these Enterprise Social Networks.
Some companies chose to combat the lack of controls by assigning a couple of administrators to the social network. This isn’t fool-proof, as we know, we all make mistakes and can easily miss an important piece of information.
Additionally, Admins may not have the visibility over certain features where automated processes can. The simple truth is that the creators of the ESNs are not implementing enterprise-grade security controls at the granularity needed to conduct Safe Collaboration.
However, we can fix that! The need for automation and fine-grain control is where a solution like Aware can help Grow, Monitor, and Secure your ESNs.
Think of Aware like Email policies, but applied to the Enterprise Social Graph.
The Enterprise Social Graph is just a way to say how data inside of a social network can be unstructured and complex. We at Aware have found a way to tap into that graph to allow for structured rules and machine learning to be applied to unstructured data.
Aware can create policies like “If confidential keywords or patterns are posted, then do an action”.
It also goes way beyond that, giving Administrators the ability to search file contents, add people criteria (like title, department, etc.), target fine-grain scopes, and so much more.
This isn’t traffic inspection, this is intelligent, deep analysis of the activity in your social network. The visualizations provided by the platform give your company detailed insight on how the organization is responding to change.
Enterprise Social Networks are gaining popularity as the way that employees want to work is changing. This type of collaboration will almost become required to innovate and stay competitive.
Employees want to work with tools they are familiar with similar to those like Facebook, WhatsApp, and more (Remember those Instant Messengers, Chat clients, and bulletin boards?). That’s where we can help.
At Aware we can help you get ready and secure for Enterprise social by helping you grow, monitor, and protect your network.