Some may remember the regrettable incident of Greek Triple Jumper, Voula Papachristou’s racist tweets back during the 2012 Olympics. As the Greek Olympic Committee found out - it's hard to manage your team appropriately and prevent them from going ‘off the reservation’ with Social Media! What is an appropriate Internet usage policy? The damage caused to both the Olympic movement and to the Greek national team was certainly great - but nothing in comparison to the shame of an athlete’s lifelong dream crushed by one moment of madness.
So - what happens if you don’t have appropriate policies in place? (Hint: that’s when you call me :-)
With the Olympic Games and other major sporting tournaments, there is always excitement building across the country. But competing athletes shouldn’t be the only ones in peak condition for the games. Small businesses should also be prepared for the impact these events can have on business operations, including lost employee productivity, network bandwidth drain and elevated security risks. First: some key principals of the Internet in the workplace **Don’t underestimate the consequences of uncontrolled Web browsing: ** the productivity loss from leisure surfing can have big financial consequences. In addition, uncontrolled Web browsing can also result in reputational losses, legal liabilities, security issues and other risks that can negatively impact the business. Understanding the severity of leisure surfing is the first step toward eliminating it in the workplace. Educate employees on browsing best practices: Educate employees about the security risks associated with Web browsing, and make sure they are knowledgeable about browsing best practices and aware of the company’s Internet Usage Policy. Simple tips, such as avoiding unfamiliar websites, can prevent users from clicking on malicious links in search engine results or downloading rogue applications offering free video streaming. Cybercriminals are now better than ever at disguising their scams to look like legitimate offers. Manage bandwidth: employees may be tempted to stream live events, watch video recaps and keep up-to-date with the latest Olympic Games news and events on bandwidth-intensive sites – which can have a negative impact on network performance. This hurdle can be easily overcome with a Web monitoring solution that enables IT admins to monitor browsing activity in real-time to manage bandwidth-intensive activity. So, now is a key time to remind your workers of your policies for internet usage and social networking. Having a written policy is something every business should have as a part of its company handbook, and this should be redistributed and discussed at meetings throughout the Games. And my 5 top tips for a sound Social Media policy Protect intellectual property: Social media users should never place proprietary information on their Facebook pages or Twitter about projects on which they’re currently working. Don’t post defamatory material: Users shouldn’t post or link to materials that are defamatory, harassing or indecent. Nor should they post pictures, notes or other info that will cast them in a bad light or reflect poorly on their ability to do their job. Be Industry-specific: Social networking policies are often dictated in part by the industry in which the company operates and how regulated that industry is. For example, employees at hospitals or clinics have access to very personal information with regard to patients, and that information must be safeguarded in order to comply with the relevant Acts. Thus, a social networking policy that prevents employees from posting specifics about patients and their conditions is in order. Avoid conflicts of interest: employees should not be using the corporate social media channels for ‘personal’ interests … even if they are a ‘good cause’. Clear disclaimers: Personal blogs should have clear disclaimers that the views expressed by the author in the blog are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of the company. The same applies should a situation arise where a personal opinion is posted via the company’s social media channels.