A few years ago a man we'll call "Adam" was
working on a complex technical solution for a Fortune 500 company.
He hit a wall and needed peer support to resolve the issue. So he
posted his question on a public tech forum and within 24 hours had
the answer to his problem.
Two days later Adam was fired from his job.
When providing background information on his problem in the
forum, Adam did not realize he had inadvertently revealed sensitive
technical data about his company. Unintentionally, he was giving
away key information that could compromise the company's
When we talk about digital media we often focus on how it helps
individuals stay connected, create new networks and share content.
Like most useful tools, though, there are also security risks we
must consider – and mitigate.
So when using any digital channel (social media sites, blogs,
wikis etc.) consider these five tips:
1) Safeguard proprietary information
Always ask yourself if information you're sharing online is
proprietary to your company and thus private. Technical blog and
information sharing sites are a great resource for collaborating
and knowledge sharing. But be aware what you post – even if
you are asking for technical assistance. Sensitive information like
IP addresses or other technical information could compromise your
organization's digital security.
2) Protect your brand
Most people don't PLAN to post embarrassing, unprofessional
or sensitive information online, but mistakes can happen. Make sure
to both check account privacy settings and review every article,
image or video before publishing. Ask yourself how your post could
be misconstrued. Adverse posts can directly impact your
organization's reputation and there is no taking them back
(even deleted posts can still be accessible).
3) Avoid breaches
It's very easy to become a victim of "phishing"
(online information theft) and have your computer infected with
malware, which in turn could corrupt all other computers in your
work network. Often a phishing security breach occurs when a
fraudulent email, text or web link is opened. So if you receive a
digital message from a questionable source, ask your IT department
for guidance before opening.
4) Know your company's security policies
If your company has a digital security policy handbook, read it!
It exists for a reason. Understanding the objectives of these
policies and procedures will help ensure you don't cause a
security breach at your organization. If policies haven't been
shared with you, be proactive and ask HR or IT for advice on best
5) Take device protection seriously
Password protecting your work devices may seem obvious, but some
of the most common data breaches are the result of unlocked or
easy-to-crack employee phones or computers. Make your passwords as
complex as possible with upper and lowercase letters as well as
numbers and symbols. For registered sites make sure you're
changing passwords every 30 to 60 days and storing your passwords
list in an encrypted tool.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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