Businesses are increasingly spying on their employees when it comes to their behaviour with social media, a report has found.
According to Gartner, around 60 percent of corporations are expected to put in place
formal programs for monitoring external social media for security breaches and incidents by 2015.
It said that although many organisations already have some sort of social media monitoring as part of brand management and marketing, less than 10 percent currently use these same techniques as part of their security monitoring program.
According to the analyst house, the growth in monitoring employee behaviour in digital environments has been made easier with new technology.
However, it warned that surveillance of individuals could create a privacy risk and should therefore be managed carefully to "comply with ethical and legal standards.”
Traditionally companies have focused their attentions on monitoring their employees behaviour on internal IT, Gartner said. However, it pointed out that times were changing as a result of new technology such as cloud, meaning these traditional methods weren't as good as they could be.
It said this meant that these practices had to "follow enterprise information assets and work processes into whichever technical environments were used by employees to execute work.
"Given that employees with legitimate access to enterprise information assets are involved in most security violations, security monitoring must focus on employee actions and behaviour wherever the employees pursue business-related interactions on digital systems," it added.
Gartner also claims that cloud services, such as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, provide new targets for security monitoring. But it warned that surveillance of user activity in these services generated additional ethical and legal risks.
It said that at times information available could assist in risk mitigation for an organisation, such as employees posting videos of inappropriate activities within corporate facilities.
However, there were other times when accessing the information could generate serious liabilities, such as a manager reviewing an employee's Facebook profile to determine the employee's religion or sexual orientation in violation of equal employment opportunity and privacy regulations.
To help create a happy medium, Gartner pointed out there were a range of products and services. However, it warned that there were still a number of problems that needed to be considered to ensure privacy was protected.