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Social Toxicity : Why Firms Need To Up Their Games

Employees share company information over social networks and other digital channels every day, even as organisations are encouraging deeper information-sharing relationships with their partners and customers.

While this information sharing often generates valuable business interactions that can improve customer service and enhance an organisation's brand equity, such exchanges also have the potential to be toxic when commercially sensitive information is shared without the organisation's approval.

Although it's difficult for organisations to constantly monitor information sharing wherever and however it's happening, here are a few steps organisations can take to reduce risk and avoid sharing information with the wrong parties. 1. Integrate directly with customers and partners - Socially minded enterprises should aim to build data connections that encourage faster, more accurate data exchanges while maintaining secure communication with their customers and partners.

2. Visibility across all business interactions - Preventing information leaks and maintaining control over points of entry to organisational data is only possible if IT teams have end-to-end visibility into all data exchanges.

3. Endorse the right connections - Organisations should customise information security policies and rules, ideally using automated policy management and PKI where possible.

4. Connect directly to critical endpoints - Enterprises should empower employees to share information by providing them with secure, direct lines of communication with the outside world.

5. Take compliance seriously - Social enterprises need hard-wired reporting capabilities to meet the requirements of industry watchdogs and other governing bodies.

6. Improve the culture - Make employees aware of, and provide training for, your preferred enterprise connectivity methods.

7. Use DLP technologies appropriately - DLP technologies should be used as a "backstop" to track communications and help provide compliance information. They should not be used for managing the day-to-day connectivity between the enterprise and its partners.

The organisation that follows these steps safeguards their business against the potential dangers of social networking, reaps social networking's valuable benefits, and accommodates the way 21st century employees prefer to work.