If you have been exposed to Social Computing within the enterprise for a little while now I bet most of you folks out there would probably be able to identify one or two of the main issues that every single corporation has got with regards to the wider adoption of social software tools, both inside and outside of the firewall. Those two issues are actually privacy and security. Oh, and perhaps risk management, too!
Well, let’s leave out privacy for now, and spend a few minutes going through security and risk management. Specially, in the context where some people keep postulating that social tools make things a whole lot easier with regards to sharing your company’s secrets across, as well as leaking confidential information out to competitors and whoever else. But do they really expose such threats? Are they the only ones creating this discomfort? Well, probably not. And here is why…
I love it when going through the various interactions from my social networks on a daily basis you keep bumping into a rather interesting resource that continues to pop up time and time again and you eventually go through it and you realise that the overall content put together is amazingly accurate (Perhaps, too scarily accurate!) today, even thought it was first published over two years ago! WOW! Yes, two years ago! I know that things happen incredibly fast on the world of the Internet, but to think that you bump into a specific piece of content that is incredibly accurate, even today!, but that it was written over two years ago, it surely is quite something!
Well, go and have a look into New Technology – The Threat to Our Corporate Information. A Slideshare presentation that has been making the rounds lately (once again) and which touches base on those interesting, and always relevant, topics of security and risk management. The deck was actually put together by Norman Lamont (?), like I said, over two years ago, and with a rather special sense of humour, and very much with tongue-in-cheek, trying to portrait, very faithfully, how using social software tools as business tools may well have the same risks, and pose the same security threats, as various other traditional collaboration and knowledge sharing tools. In this particular case, the telephone.
Yes, that lovely mobile device that I bet almost everyone of us has had at some point in time and whose usage continues to grow exponentially year in, year out. That mobile device through which, in multiple various occasions, I am sure!, more than once, twice, or even three times!, we have been hearing conversations from people around us that I bet we shouldn’t have been hearing in the first place! Whether waiting to take public transport on the way back home, whether waiting at the doctor for that appointment, whether we are doing shopping or whether we are having lunch or dinner at a restaurant, you know there have been multiple various conversations over the mobile phone that you realise should never have happened in the first place!
Ouchie! Yes, that’s the premise of this Slideshare presentation I mentioned above: New Technology – The Threat to Our Corporate Information. It’s funny. Actually, it’s hysterical! Hilariously entertaining, to put it in other words, just to see how Norman has put together, back then!, a couple of years ago, a bunch of rather simplistic slides, with very little text and visuals, trying to convey what the real problem for these issues of security and risk management are all about: it’s never been about the technology, nor the tools, like some people keep claiming over and over again, but eventually it’s down to the people themselves, the knowledge workers. Those who always have got a unique and unprecedented opportunity to mess things up pretty badly, unless they are careful enough…
And that’s exactly what Norman talks about in his Slideshare deck. That social software tools are not going to get businesses in more trouble with leaking confidential information out there, because if employees would really want to share that critical information with the wrong kind of crowd, they probably wouldn’t care about social tools to do that. They would eventually use anything within their reach! Email, Instant Messaging, phone calls, informal face to face conversations, etc. You name it! Even if they are not fully aware of what they have been doing!
Like I said, if a knowledge worker decides to leak that paramount to the company information, knowledge and / or resources, believe me, the last thing they are going to make use of is social software tools! Ironic, eh? Why, you may be wondering, right? Well, like Norman said, mainly because "wikis, blogs and forums are the tried and tested ways. Every entry is named and attributable, and can be corrected if wrong. All corporate communication should take place this way!"
Because "How do you update and correct a telephone conversation when it’s done?" (You will have to go through the slide deck to find out… not going to reveal the answer just yet! You will have to find out for yourself this time around! One thing for sure is that as you go through the presentation I’m pretty certain you will be nodding in agreement with Norman, at the same time that you are going to find the slides rather entertaining, if not hilariously funny! Yes, this is one of those blog posts referencing a rather nice, simple, but effective presentation with plenty of tongue-in-cheek all around. Or… well … maybe not!
Maybe we are over-exaggerating a bit, or perhaps over-reacting more than we should; after all, wouldn’t we trust our knowledge workers to be those hard working professionals we hired in the first place, working on a rather healthy, content, satisfying, highly motivating innovative, knowledge sharing prone and collaborative environment, who keep revalidating their commitment to the business every year by complying with those business conduct guidelines you encourage them to live by? Yeah, who knows, perhaps we are freaking out a bit too much. Shouldn’t we trust them more to do the right thing?
Maybe we should. Why not? What would we have to lose? Most importantly, what would they have to lose? Probably a whole lot more than we all think…
Tags: Privacy, Security, Risk Management, Enterprise 2.0 Barriers, Social Computing Barriers, Barriers of Adoption, Adoption, Technology, Internet, Information, Knowledge, Norman Lamont, Telephone, Phone, Mobile Phones, Mobile Devices, Knowledge Workers, Slideshare, Presentations, Trust, Motivation, Quality, Happy Employees, Engagement, Employee Engagement, Professionals, Business Conduct Guidelines, BCGs, Commitment, Involvement, Enterprise 2.0, Social Software, Social Networking, Social Computing, Social Media, Collaboration, Communities, Learning, Knowledge Sharing, KM, Knowledge Management, Remote Collaboration, Innovation, Networking, Social Networks, Conversations, Dialogue, Communication, Connections, Relationships, Productivity