Sprout article featured in The Bar Marketing newsletter

Matt Torrens’s article ‘ Social media and the ever increasing risks of being online’ has been featured in the June edition of Bar Marketing newsletter. Read the full article below:

The impact of social media on the workplace and on individuals outside of work, is increasing at a disturbingly high rate. When referring to ‘social media’, it is the broad term used to describe internet-based tools that are used on Desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones. The world is constantly, more than ever, connecting and interacting via social media and many of us are online more than we are asleep! Facebook now has over 1.19 billion accounts registered, LinkedIn over 259 million and twitter over 232 million that’s not without mentioning Instagram, SnapChat, Whatsapp and many of the other social media platforms and online forums – the list is endless.

The risks of being online are enormous. A social media account can be hacked, money and identities stolen and invasions of privacy all can happen in a matter of seconds, without any warning. This is fraudulent, serious crime, but because it’s online, it’s often hard to think logically about what has happened. However, so many individuals are not protecting themselves from online crimes. Many of the risks come from groups of people interacting in un-moderated forums or by being naïve or ignorant about the amount of issues that could arise.

The effects of social media activity can be immense and the boundaries between work and home can often become very distorted.

‘What goes online, Stays online’ should be considered at all times.

The enormous challenge for organisations is how to promote and control their reputations. Considering how colleagues interact with one another online and how the lines often get blurred or crossed when connecting online should be a concern at all levels of a business.
The many risks include;

  • Confidential information being disclosed, often innocently.
  • Intentional disclosure of confidential information
  • Accessing inappropriate content via links
  • Phishing emails encouraging visits fraudulent or inappropriate websites.
  • Identity thieves or fraudsters hacking into or hijacking your account or page.
  • Accessing inappropriate content via links
  • Online abuse in the form of bullying, stalking, trolling or other
  • Malware contained within message attachments or photographs.

Responsible social media use should be promoted at all time. Organizations can avoid these risks by following best practice guidelines for cyber-security.

  • Ensure there is an up to date social media policy for the organization and include the training for this in every induction.
  • Train all staff in cyber-awareness. Give them the empowerment to stay in control and limit their risk both individually and when representing the organization.
  • Only give social media account access to employees who need access and who have been trained. Ensure there is an audit trail of who can access accounts. Make sure that any employees who leave are not allowed access.
  • Ensure strong passwords, correct privacy settings and two factor authentication
  • Make it policy that confidential information is not included in any social media posts and that any announcements are signed off first.
  • Monitor what customers, employees and competitors are saying about your organization.
  • Set up on-going simple training to help staff to be vigilant at all times

Sprout CyberAware, powered by AXELOS, is a best practice Cyber Resilience Training programme. It is a portfolio of learning products which includes; certified training, awareness learning for all staff, leadership insight and a maturity assessment tool that enables good and timely decision making on all aspects information security.

Download Sprout IT’s free report titled ‘Cyber Resilience in the UK Legal Sector’.

To get in touch with Sprout IT about security and other IT-related queries, please email AskTheExpert@sproutit.co.uk or visit www.sproutit.co.uk.


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Matt Torrens

Matt Torrens

Matt enables law firms & barristers' chambers to achieve competitive advantage & peace of mind, through innovative use of best-of-breed technology, award winning services and obsession with service excellence.