Social networking is more than just websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ — it’s also the devices and users that access these sites. Today’s digitally-aware generation of employees are bringing their smart phones and tablets right into the workplace. Not because this digitally-native generation prefers texting to phone calls, and status updates over emails. Mobile technology is not a convenience for them – it’s how they live, and increasingly, how they work.

Some organizations view social networking in the business environment as a threat to security and a drain on productivity. But James Beeson, CISO of GE Capital, says that kind of thinking is all wrong.

While some see social networking as a waste of time that kills productivity, the “mobile generation” find it essential for collaboration and efficiency. The mobile generation is not going to turn back, so organizations need to get on board.

“Social networking is actually helping our security attention span,” says Beeson. “My kids are more aware of the bad stuff out there. It’s giving us a much better digital trail. We are getting a much better baseline of user activity, which can help us understand the new ‘normal’ so we can more effectively identify today’s abnormal activity.”

We’re not saying there aren’t big security risks associated with social networking; however, there are some basic steps organizations must take to protect themselves.

Social media isn’t coming to the financial services industry, it’s already here. The benefits far outweigh the risk, but only if you are committed to building a solid social media strategy with guidelines and policies that fit your business. What people need to remember is that those policies will never be something you can set and forget. You have to continually update those documents as the social media landscape changes.

How does your company feel about social media? Are they embracing it?