The use of social media opened up a can of worms for radio network EMF Broadcasting.
The use of social media opened up a can of worms for radio network EMF Broadcasting.

With today's range of communication technologies, even major radio stations supplement their broadcasts over the air with tweets, posts to Facebook and any other venue for social media to help promote their programming and thus grab the attention of their audience however they're staying connected.

While these new avenues are efficient in shooting out up-to-the-minute messages to increase awareness and help the audience become engaged, for security personnel the use of social media opens up a whole new can of worms. 

Rocklin, Calif.-based EMF Broadcasting owns and operates the K-LOVE and Air1 radio networks, which combined have more than 700 radio and broadcasting stations across the United States. The company's stations are spread throughout 45 states.

With the phenomenal growth of social media, EMF needed visibility and control over social networking applications used by its personnel. To manage its approximately 500 employees, Juan Walker (left), principal security strategist at EMF Broadcasting, and his 40-member IT team sought to protect cloud applications from unauthorized access and account takeover attacks. “For example, if a radio personality had their social media account compromised this could create a public relations crisis for EMF,” Walker says.

EMF's leading cloud security concern was protecting its brand, says Walker. The prospect of a hacker hijacking a staff member's social media account and posting inappropriate content attributed to the organization could have disastrous effects on its reputation and relationship with its donors, he says.

“Social media challenges EMF in many exciting and unexpected ways,” Walker says. “A small percentage of companies have a documented social media policy and EMF is one of them. We want added protection when engaging with listeners and donors through social media platforms.”

A search began for a technology solution to assist. When he and his IT team were introduced to SkyFence, they thought its cloud-protection capabilities would fit into their social media protection strategy. “The cost per user really made the solution attractive,” he says.

“Skyfence is a proxy-based solution that provides cloud app discovery/risk scoring, analytics and protection,” says Frank Cabri, vice president of Marketing for Skyfence. “It does not require any endpoint software.”

The solution uncovers cloud apps by inspecting and aggregating data in user access logs from enterprise web-proxies and firewalls, Cabri (right) explains. An app discovery report is generated using a locally executable tool that scans existing logs files (from firewalls or web proxy systems) either manually or on an automatic schedule. The non-intrusive process does not require any installation of agents or changes to applications. 

Skyfence automates the process of determining which cloud apps users are accessing and details the number of users, activity level, traffic volume and usage hours for each app. 

It performs a risk assessment and categorizes each cloud app as high, medium or low risk. Risk metrics, such as the status of service provider audits (e.g., SSAE-16), compliance requirements (e.g., PCI AoC) and many other critical criteria are consolidated and measured so organizations can use the risk score of each app to prioritize their risk migration efforts. In addition, the advanced risk metrics feature lets organizations customize risk weightings so app metrics can be adjusted to reflect the risk to their specific business operations, Cabri says.