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Don't be a horror story! Why social media policies matter to the CIO

Although social media technologies aren’t generally a focus for, two stories this week highlighted some reasons why CIOs need to establish strong social media policies to monitor their staff’s Facebook, Twitter and other social media usage — or face the consequences.

You’re probably well aware of the benefits of social media in the workplace. They can function as excellent recruiting tools for HR, serve as user-friendly collaboration platforms for staff and boost a company’s customer outreach (McDonald’s, for instance, hired its first social-media chief this week.).

But CIOs must also consider social media’s pitfalls, especially if they haven’t drafted social media policies to guide their staff. According to Senior News Writer, Linda Tucci, IT consulting firm Burton Group Inc. pointed to these risks associated with compromised social media accounts in the workplace:

  • Malware, phishing and spoofing
  • Impersonation and blackmail from malicious outsiders
  • Denial of service, security failures
  • Jurisdictional issues over privacy and compliance from social media platform operators

Meanwhile, over on our sister site, News Writer Jessica Scarpati zeroed in on compliance concerns. According to the survey “Usage Trends, End User Attitudes and IT Impact from FaceTime Communications Inc., a unified communications security and compliance vendor, when asked if they could reproduce social network communications if required by an attorney, 65% of IT managers said they could not.

And although 77% of enterprises said they archive emails, only a fraction (19%) logs communications via social networks; 13% reported archiving tweets, the survey found.

The story also cites several good examples of social media gone wild in the workplace, as well as the fallout. Perhaps most shocking? Two nurses were fired from a Wisconsin hospital last year following allegations they had taken pictures of a patient’s X-ray — which showed an object lodged in his rectum — with their cell phone cameras. One nurse was accused of posting the photo to her personal Facebook page (she later deleted it).

Now, tell me whether you’ve seen the phrase “lodged in his rectum” in any other IT story you’ve read this week. (Actually, please don’t tell me, as I’m not sure I’d want to know the details.)

Do you have your own social media horror story to share? Or has your company established social media policies to clamp down on security and compliance concerns?

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