Cisco addresses security challenges of collaboration and social media.

Online tools for desktop sharing, audio and video collaboration, and enterprise social software play an increasingly important role in corporate business. The industry is also seeing a trend toward “IT consumerization,” where employees and other users experience new technologies before they are supported by enterprises. The first impact of this trend is producing more employee requests to access their personal social media accounts from their work computers as a way to manage both work and life responsibilities. The even bigger impact is that employees want to use these types of collaboration tools for enterprise business purposes.

The goals behind collaboration and social media tools are clearly beneficial to business: better information sharing, more efficient decision-making, and enhanced business relationships, among others. And trends are clearly indicating that collaboration will become a fundamental way of conducting many types of business activities in the near future. However, online collaboration tools, and external social sharing tools in particular, present security risks to the operation of enterprise networks and computing systems, as well as to the confidentiality of intellectual property and business information. But an organization that tries to completely ban external social media will likely find that employees may ignore the rules and use those tools anyway, by circumventing corporate processes. And this unauthorized, unmonitored, and uncontrolled use can increase the IT and business risks.

This best practice shares how Cisco is addressing the security challenges of collaboration and social media tools through company policies, guidelines, and training for users as well as security measures in Cisco’s collaboration technology and its network.