SOURCE: FaceTime Communications

FaceTime Communications

December 17, 2009 08:40 ET

FaceTime Explores Social Media Compliance for Government Agencies at Gov 2.5 Conference

Government Agencies Need to Embrace Social Networks and Web 2.0 Applications in a Way That Is Secure and Complies With Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - December 17, 2009) - At the Government 2.5 Conference this week, FaceTime Communications (www.facetime.com), the event platinum sponsor and the leading provider of solutions enabling the safe use of Web 2.0 and Unified Communications in the enterprise, presented "Secure and Compliant Use of Social Media for Government Agencies." Bill Williams, Director of Federal Sales for FaceTime, outlined challenges that government agencies face to secure their computer networks for social media use. Williams also discussed ways they can implement effective policies and procedures to comply with government regulations.

Increasingly, government agencies are harnessing social media and public networks like Twitter and Facebook to reach out to constituents. The City of New York, for example, uses Twitter to keep residents up to date on street closures, events, and other issues. The challenge facing government IT professionals is how to support these public networks securely, without opening themselves to risks of incoming threats such as malware or viruses, or outgoing data threats such as data leaks. Government IT managers also need to be able to log and archive Web 2.0 content, including IM conversations, to comply with audit regulations such as FISMA, DIACAP, NARA, HIPAA, and others. And they may also want to impose Internet and Web 2.0 application control. For instance, government workers may have a legitimate need to access Facebook or want to access social media on their own time, but it's not necessarily a good idea to allow access to games such as Mafia Wars or Farmville.

"Government agencies are increasingly using social media sites and public instant messaging systems inside their firewall to conduct government business more effectively," said Williams. "The goal of government IT organizations shouldn't be to say 'no' to social media web sites and just block access, but rather to implement access in a secure fashion that eliminates threats from viruses and malware, prevents data leaks, and enforces regulatory compliance."

During the conference, Williams reviewed the recommendations of the CIO Council regarding social media security, including the development of a social media strategy and acceptable use policy, following NIST guidelines, providing records retention in accord with NARA, and providing specialized training to users. The CIO Council also recommends using technology to inspect, monitor, detect, and block traffic, and reviewing technologies for granular control of web applications, data, and protocols.

Williams also profiled FaceTime's Unified Security Gateway and related products that provide unified security, management, and compliance for social media use on government networks. Social media security needs to be supported by technology that provides complete visibility over network traffic, as well as security by blocking worms, viruses and malware and preventing data leaks. It also needs to support data traffic management, including enforcing granular policies, inserting disclaimers, and enforcing ethical boundaries. And to support compliance, the technology needs to provide tamper-proof archiving and auditing, and detect and prevent data leakage.

"FaceTime's presentation focusing on the security and compliance issues related to social media came at a perfect time within the Government 2.5 conference this week," said Robert Fine, Founder of Cool Blue LLC which organized the conference. "We had a number of presentations where questions arose about social media and evidence collection related to court cases. FaceTime's product line also addresses many of these concerns, which are going to be a core part of our SMILE conference in April (Social Media in Law Enforcement). FaceTime's guidance, participation, and presence at that discussion will be critical."

For more information about FaceTime's solutions for government IT security and compliance, visit http://www.facetime.com/solutions/compliance.aspx.

About FaceTime Communications Inc.

FaceTime Communications enables the safe and productive use of Unified Communications and Web 2.0, including social networks, blogs, and instant messaging. Ranked number one by IDC for five consecutive years, FaceTime's award-winning solutions are used by more than 1,500 customers for the security, management and compliance of real-time communications. FaceTime supports or has strategic partnerships with all leading public IM network and Unified Communications providers, including AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Skype, IBM and Cisco.

FaceTime is headquartered in Belmont, California. For more information visit http://www.facetime.com.