Employee Social Media Use Viewed as Risky


Small-business owners are worried that their employees’ use of social media is a potential security risk, according to new research by the Cyber Readiness Institute.

A survey of 400 SMB owners and 1,059 US workers found that 56% of owners believe that their employees’ social media use poses a cybersecurity threat to their business. 

Despite their fears, 82% of employers said that they allow employees to use personal devices to access work email or other data and 67% of business owners allow their employees to use social media applications on work devices.

While 56% of employees said that they have social media applications on devices they use for work, only 30% had been issued with guidelines on the use of social media applications on those devices.

Almost a quarter—22%—of workers admitted to ignoring or bypassing the cybersecurity guidelines issued by their company on a daily or weekly basis. 

“It is clear that small-business owners are fully aware of the cybersecurity risks associated with mixing personal and work activities on the same device,” said Kiersten Todt, managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute.

“SMBs now need to issue policies that address these risks. More than 4-in-5 owners allow employees to use personal devices for work and only about half have policies regarding the apps that can or cannot be on devices used. It is a recipe for cyber insecurity.”

Installing social media apps on work devices was common among employees, with 42% of business owners saying that more than 75% of their employees have social media applications on devices they use for work.

Facebook was the most popular app used by workers on their work device, with 50% of those surveyed saying that they used it.

More than half of employees—56%—said that their company has not issued new guidelines on the use of social media apps on work devices since the COVID-19 pandemic had triggered the introduction of remote working.

Adding new policies regarding social media apps or modifying existing policies for employees having to work at home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus was being considered by 36% of employers.

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