This week we examine tools that aim to balance collaboration with confidentiality, prompting individuals across the enterprise to think twice about their social signatures.

Collaboration for Enterprise

iCyte is a web annotation utility that lets you highlight and save text to any web page. Users can research topics of interest, collaborate on projects with friends and coworkers, and share information with others. And now it’s available for the enterprise.

iCyte Enterprise is tailored for professional organizations and allows them the same features as individual iCyte users, but with the added protection for confidential information and administrative control. Enterprise users can access iCyte through a dedicated domain that is created for each company, which is set up in advance and maintained by a designated administrator within the organization. All iCyte Enterprise projects are private, without the option of making them public, but others can be invited to participate in their projects as desired.

iCyte Enterprise attempts to balance collaboration with confidentiality. While users are able to email links of interest, called “cytes,” to others and can embed cytes in blogs and other html pages, iCyte Enterprise disables features like iCyte’s two-click sharing with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, all in an effort to ensure that users don’t compromise their organization’s privacy.

Protecting Your Social Signature

If only protecting one’s privacy online was easy. Because social networking sites, like Facebook, make it easy to share personal information online, the New York Times reports that “computer scientists and policy experts say that such seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity, sometimes down to the Social Security number.”

That last part is what has the FTC worried -- that rules to protect privacy have not kept up with technology. As a result, they have held workshops addressing the issue of online privacy.

You needn’t wait for their meeting minutes to take control of your information. You can take precautions by adopting tight privacy controls on information provided in personal profiles. Of course you can’t prevent others from giving it away for you nor can you prevent what scientists call a “social signature” from developing.

A social signature compiles, analyzes and can reveal behavior patterns from a user’s many online social interactions, as well as the publicly available information from many sources, including profiles on social networks.

Are Your Employees Breaking Policy?

If social signatures make you cringe, consider the following: more than one in 10 U.S. employees says they've known they were violating policies put in place by their company's IT departments, but violated them anyway to get their work done.

According to a recent Harris poll, conducted for a mobile asset company, 12 percent of the 1,347 employed respondents over the age of 18 survey, admitted to breaking policy.

What can companies do? Linda McGlasson of the Agency Insider blog says that companies need to do more to educate and preach compliance to employees. She suggests “putting security compliance as part of everyone's job description and tying it to their job performance.”

Although it may take some convincing, it may help to keep important private information from becoming public.