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From an intranet perspective you may have thought that Web 2.0 was a fad, or at worst, a distraction. However, today’s Financial Times reports that staff who enter their personal or corporate details on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are providing opportunities for fraud. Individual and department names or phone numbers can be used in phishing or identity theft while the name of a pet, favourite colour or daughter’s birth date might prove useful in hacking passwords.

This raises the need not only for a policy on whether these sites should be available through corporate networks – if you are trying to locate just the right ex-colleague for a job or project then Facebook could provide just the answer – but also guidelines on what information staff should enter into the public domain outside of the office.

What the article does not delve into, though, is why Web 2.0 is any different to the myriad job sites containing corporate details embedded in CV’s. It could be just another case of specialists jumping on the bandwagon that appears to be attracting the most attention. But to err on the side of caution, consider what a hacker armed with personal details might be able to achieve within your organisation.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.


  1. Mark Morrell

    Everyone seems to be joining or already uses Facebook that I know. I won’t be joining them after this article……..yet!

  2. Out of interest – a company called Nexaweb are running a ‘Securing Web 2.0 What Enterprises Need to Know’ one-hour eConference Sept 6 2007, 2 p.m., ET or 11 a.m. PT
    The seminar will focus on security questions, including how you can create secure, browser-based applications for online, remote and mobile users. Go to the Nexaweb meeting centre for further information

  3. Paul Miller

    I do think we are building somke serious problems where staff within organisations also use FB and other social sites for internal communications…’s becoming quite trendy and popular…but what problems will that generate 12 months on?

  4. Louise Ferguson

    FaceBook actually has some pretty comprehensive privacy controls. It’s down to people knowing what’s appropriate, and that’s something that goes way beyond FaceBook. There seems to be room here for some general citizen education about online presence and privacy.
    The boundaries of the organisation are always somewhat porous; and for some more specialist teams – and for smaller organisations – most of their contacts are going to be outside rather than within.
    Some 50% of organisations now ban FaceBook, according to Sophos research. Banning individual sites sounds like turning into a full-time job for somebody, and is unlikely to capture all relevant sites at any one time. Far better to implement guidelines.

  5. Louise Ferguson

    Yes, a few of your BT colleagues are definitely there ;-).
    It’s quite easy on FB to hide all your details if you so wish, so that only your chosen friends can see, you’re not searchable etc. And there are quite a few people I know in real life who have taken advantage and are a complete black box on FB.
    I understand from colleagues that it’s quite common practice now to have separate work and private IDs on FB (though FB prohibits this, funnily enough).
    Of equal concern, perhaps, is what FB does with the data (check out their rather scary terms of use). And what third party application providers do with it too.

  6. Louise Ferguson

    @ Paul
    There are some fairly active CIOs on there right now, presumably finding out what the issues are. Others indeed encourage staff to use FB when internal tools go down.

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