Social networks in South Africa pose a serious threat to businesses

 2017-01-25 11:50 AM by
Social networks in South Africa pose a serious threat to businesses

Question: What's the biggest productivity killer in businesses today?

Answer: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks in South Africa.

Question: What's one of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your confidential data?


Answer: Hackers post comments to social networks in South Africa that entice people to click on a link that introduces malware onto the corporate network.

How often have you encountered a post on Facebook with a comment along the lines of "It's so funny what this girl does..." or "You have to see this!" Many people can't resist clicking on links like these.

Clicking on these links enables hackers to infiltrate your computer. These links usually route one to a rogue website that automatically downloads and installs some malware script on the relevant device. The malware application then begins infiltrating the device as well as other connected devices on the network. As a result, corporate and individual confidential and sensitive information is compromised. You could even have your identity 'stolen'. (For more about identity theft, check out a recent blog here.)

Social networks in South Africa are massive productivity killers.

Many corporate employees don't have internet access at home and can only access the internet via expensive data accounts on their smartphones or tablets. Because of this, many employees wait until they're at work - where they have access to unlimited corporate wireless access - to upload images, photos and videos and download music and movies.

Whilst the cost of the actual bandwidth used may be insignificant, have you considered the cost of wasted time and lost productivity that results from unauthorised access of this nature? At my company, we installed a web filtering tool that blocked access to social media and related time wasting sites. The result was that our bandwidth usage halved from one month to the next. On top of that, how much time did we save? We think that it meant that we didn't need to employ additional agents in our call centre, which had seemed inevitable before the web filtering was set up.

So, if unfettered access to social networks in South Africa is so dangerous, what's the solution?

Traditional corporate data security solutions encompassed firewalls and on-premise anti-virus applications. Today, we talk about endpoint protection rather than merely virus and spamware solutions. Endpoint protection encompasses all of the following:

Anti-virus, malware and spamware
Web access filtering and blocking tools
Device control; the ability to 'lock down' all corporate devices so that confidential data cannot be copied to removable media and taken off-site
With regards to the content of this blog, web filtering functionality enables IT managers and IT support companies to selectively block access to social networks in South Africa. Read more about website filtering here.

How do I find a solution that does all of this?

Cloud-based endpoint protection solutions are the most effective tools that you can implement. Cloud-hosted tools have the following advantages:

Easy to deploy (and can be remotely deployed)
Work across all device formats; PC, smartphones, tablets, Mac
Easy to configure and manage (can be managed remotely via an online console)
All configured devices can be managed 24/7/365, no matter where in the world the device is
Always access and check against the latest online hosted virus and malware pattern engine (hosted by the relevant software vendor)
Available on a monthly 'rental per device' basis with no long-term contracts