More high-profile companies are turning to blogs as a way to communicate with customers, employees and the public. But as the popularity of corporate blogs rises, the vulnerability of confidential information has also dramatically increased. Employees could be blogging away your secret sauce.
Blogs aren't all bad. They can provide employees with valuable information and access to resources. Research suggests there are more than nine million blogs out there, with 40,000 new ones popping up each day. And there are practices you can adopt to protect yourselves and trade secrets.
First, create a policy that directly addresses the use of blogs. Updating HR materials to reflect policy on blogs shows staff that management is aware of their interest in blogs, and is actively taking steps to allow the freedom to communicate while protecting the company.
You should also monitor the web each week for mentions of your company in blogs – staying informed on what is being said and by whom helps to recognize misconduct. It can also be an efficient way to monitor what is being said about your competitors.
You could try to create a corporate blog and manage it. By giving employees an outlet, they are less likely to establish an unofficial blog to disseminate corporate information.
You should certainly create a damage limitation policy for leaks on blogs. If confidential information is posted, you need to minimize the damage and quickly resolve the issue.
Finally, there are active policy management solutions that help control web-based communications. Such solutions allow flexibility as well as the ability to monitor and prevent attempted postings from company terminals that fail to jibe with corporate policies.