x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Simple guidelines can help avert security risks, says UK defence official

The head of online engagement at the British ministry of defence doesn't think government entities should avoid using social media due to fears of compromising security.

Pippa Norris, head of online engagement at the British ministry of defence, says simple guidelines can decrease security risks for government organisations afraid of compromising security risks on social media. Razan Alzayani / The National
Pippa Norris, head of online engagement at the British ministry of defence, says simple guidelines can decrease security risks for government organisations afraid of compromising security risks on social media. Razan Alzayani / The National

DUBAI // Government organisations in parts of the world are avoiding use of social media because of security problems that are easily avoided, a British defence official says.

Pippa Norris, the head of online engagement at the British ministry of defence, said simple guidelines can decrease such risks.

Ms Norris said an organisation could only become socially responsible and engage with the public if it trusted its employees.

Since 2010 the British defence ministry has greatly increased its online presence after “serious soul searching” and opting “to trust its staff”, she said.

“At the end of the day the question is, how much do you trust your employees?” Ms Norris said.

“If you trust them to be your ambassadors, then you need to imbue them with the right support. They need to know what they can do and what they can’t do, what they should and shouldn’t do, and who they ask for help. The reality is, whether they give [staff] access to computers or not, people will still use Facebook and will still tweet and engage on social media. What’s better for us as an organisation from a traditional and security perspective is to provide the right guidelines and advice on how to use it.”

The UK has a number of accounts for the air force, navy and army, with more than 200,000 followers. All members are encouraged to use social media.

amustafa@thenational.ae