What exactly is Facebook at Work and where can I try it out?
This question was answered on December 2, 2015. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Inter-company communication is one of the most important technology initiatives that any organization has to take on and Facebook wants to get in on the action.
Most companies rely on e-mail or basic instant messaging for daily contact, but the complexity of business communications continue to expand, so many are finding them pretty inefficient.
Another reason so many companies are looking to move away from e-mail as the primary internal communication channel is security. The most likely way your company will be exploited these days is through e-mail.
Sophisticated social engineering attacks (a.k.a. spear phishing) can look like an email from a colleague or administrator, which can fool many employees into opening dangerous attachments or clicking on rigged links.
Everyone knows that opening file attachments is dangerous, but when they come from fellow employees or executives in your company, you probably won’t think twice about opening them.
As long as e-mail is a primary internal communication tool, it will be up to each employee to determine fake messages from legitimate ones.
Malicious attackers know that they only need to get one employee to fall for their scam in order to perpetrate ransomware scams or to get behind firewalls or other security measures.
The social nature of companies these days make it really easy for scammers to figure out who the important figures are to create very convincing messages.
The scams can range from sending a message that appears to be from the CEO telling an accounting employee to send a wire transfer to an announcement from a company executive that the company is being acquired and the details are in the attached document.
Lots of companies are attempting to address these issues, including a popular startup called Slack (https://slack.com) which has generated over 1 million users in just over two years.
But powerful platforms like Slack require a lot of training and behavioral changes of employees, which can make transitioning a bit of a headache.
Just about everyone has a Facebook account and many are already using it every day at work anyway, so leveraging what’s already in place could be effective.
Facebook launched a closed beta test of the ‘Facebook at Work’ platform earlier this year with a small group of companies and most estimates are pointing to a public release in early 2016.
Facebook at Work accounts are separate from your personal account, so they keep personal and business posts separate.
Anything posted via the Facebook at Work account is only visible to others in your company - think of it as a controlled internal social network.
The current features include profiles, events, groups, files and notifications, which closely mirrors what Facebook in general offers.
If this platform proves to be effective and truly secure, you could effectively eliminate the threat of fake internal e-mail messages and file attachments because everyone in your organization would know not to trust any e-mail message that claimed to be from a co-worker.
If you want to keep up with the news and events surrounding Facebook at Work, fill out their form at https://goo.gl/sIwpIz.
(Image courtesy of Maxi Gago: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Facebook_¿Que_es%3F.jpg)
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on December 2, 2015