The Return of the Toxic Newts: BYOD Privacy Concerns in Social Media at Work

Newts Micro Visions, Inc.A while back, I brought in my toxic newt buddies to illustrate the issues with BYOD in the office. Today, they have returned to address one of the stickier issues in device privacy and security policies. So, hands in the air. Who uses Facebook and Twitter at work? Now stop it. Here’s why.

Since the last time you heard about the newts, one of the grad students in the lab put toxic newts in with nontoxic. The plan is to see whether the nontoxic suddenly start leaking poisonous ooze. This is all well and good in the lab, but it’s not going to fly at work. Mixing Farmville with the daily grind is not, contrary to popular belief, a good plan. Actually, it’s going to make your company computer (because we’ve already established that BYOD is dangerous, so you’re not bringing your own devices) more susceptible to malware. That’s a bummer.

Yes, I know, everybody does it. That’s the problem. Those pesky hackers use it too, and if some smarty pants out there realizes your password is your birthday (which he can find on social media) or 1234, you’ve just given him one more entry point into your company’s systems.

Have a boss? You might be fired for using social media at work, even if you think you’re within the bounds of the policy. Familiarize yourself with that policy and tread carefully. If my professor discovered we were cross contaminating newts not involved in the experiment (supposing any of us had a death wish), we’d all be in the doghouse.

The toxic newts and I grant that there are several advantages to social media in the workplace, but we are still on the fence about whether those advantages outweigh the disadvantages (but it’s not looking good). To each employer his own policy. Should anyone desperately need to be social during the day, look over the cubicle and channel your inner Jim Halpert. There’s a Dwight or Pam out there somewhere.

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