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Can enterprises use private social media tools for secure collaboration internally?

Thursday, February 10th 2011 @ 7:10 AM (not yet rated)    post viewed 23615 times

We know that many organizations are using open source Wiki software and platforms (e.g. Mediawiki) to do collaboration internally without exposing their systems to 600 million other users. But are there any other tools that enterprises can use to mimic the real-time connectivity of social networking sites like Facebook internally?

Why would a business want private social networking tools? Isn't that an oxymoron?

I believe that enterprises can and will eventually begin to use "internal" or "private" social networks to allow for easier real-time collaboration, while avoiding some of the risks of the "public" social networks - such as social engineering attacks, Koobface attacks, etc. I'd really like to learn more about what the options are for businesses to deploy their own social media tools internally, or in a private cloud. Internal deployments would probably tend to be more secure, with potentially more control over access and authentication of users. But a cloud-based implementation by a trusted service provider might also be quite secure. Either way, the facility would be less of an easy target for attackers.

Have you seen or heard of such a thing? If so, where can I learn more about them?
Doing a Google search turns up many hits, but I'd like to hear about some success stories and reviews of these kinds of solutions that could benefit the members of the Streetwise Security Zone as we try to figure out how to leverage the power of social media, in a secure and efficient way.

Also, what are your thoughts? What would it take for enterprises to be able to use social networks and social media tools securely? 



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dwechsler said on Wednesday, February 23rd 2011 @ 6:42 PM:

As a systems designer in a company that uses a collaboration tools from basic email to wikis, an intranet, and sharepoint, I don't think this provides enough connectivity to truly reach a company-wide synergy.   The ability to have internal "public" conversations where anyone can add their input would be extremely valuable in that it would help to lower the walls between various marketing / design / manufacture / test groups, partner companies, and remote workers thus allowing greater amounts of collaboration in real-time, without the need to wait for the weekly project status meeting.  I can see cool things happening like getting meaningful contributions from employees who have relevant experiences from one of their previous careers.  It can significantly boost the knowledge capital of an organization.  Furthermore, being able to browse employee profiles can create greater camaraderie between co-workers by their ability to find common interests with ease, at least much easier than the chance conversation where you discover you have something in common.

Another solution is needed which the likes of Yammer, Chatter.com, SocialCast and others solve.  I am very interested in bringing these technologies to my company.  Despite selling the idea to a number of upper-level managers, I am hoping that we can move forward with a pilot run without our IT department vetoing  it.

Twitter  @dwechsler

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ScottWright said on Thursday, February 24th 2011 @ 6:24 AM:

Excellent comments David. And welcome to the Streetwise Security Zone!

I think your point about getting more participation from unexpected team members is a great one. It reminds me of a government department I heard of that started using Wikis to develop new documentation and policies. Despite the fears that people would maliciously change policies under development, they discovered via the "discussion" tabs that people were more likely to comment there. In fact, they learned about people who had an interest in various initiatives whom they would not have otherwise found in the organization.

That's what I would call positive collaboration in the spirit of improving the culture and productivity. It starts to become less about security, while still improving the overall security posture.

I think we should start by creating a list of candidate software packages, both open source and commercial, that can be deployed easily by an IT department, and perhaps make note of the tools' potential benefits for collaboration in an enterprise. We could also launch a survey.

Anyone care to help out?



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