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​Microsoft-LinkedIn deal: ‘Don’t let exciting possibilities blind you to privacy and security concerns’

​Microsoft-LinkedIn deal: ‘Don’t let exciting possibilities blind you to privacy and security concerns’

Forrester analysts discuss implications of the US$26.2 billion acquisition.

In the meantime, take precautions to protect high-profile accounts, privileged systems administrators, and brand accounts through continuous digital risk monitoring.

Microsoft buys a social network but the currency is data, says analyst firm Forrester, on the software company’s acquisition of LinkedIn.

This deal puts Microsoft in a better position to compete with other digital platform independent software vendors (ISVs) like Salesforce, Facebook and Amazon, by combining LinkedIn's extensive business focused social graph with products from Microsoft’s Office, Dynamics and Azure team, according to Jeffrey Hammond, VP, principal analyst at Forrester.

“It adds a valuable source of community and connection to Microsoft’s digital application platform.”

By acquiring LinkedIn, Microsoft is showing its commitment to the business customer and betting heavily that current and future customers will expect to interact as seamlessly with business productivity tools as they do with their favorite social networks, according to Forrester’s Quick Take report on the acquisition

Meanwhile, by integrating 433 million LinkedIn profiles into its own offerings, Microsoft will get data about how those individuals use its products like Office 365, email, and Skype.

Microsoft can use this data,among others, to improve insight on employee behaviour.

“Visibility into various signals, such as an uptick in connections to a competitor, could let a firm proactively manage unwanted churn,” it notes.

This is important for organisations who may face staff retention challenges with millennials who are not as loyal to their employers as previous generations.

Read more: ​Customer-obsessed leadership is now the new standard: Forrester

The Forrester report also highlights the privacy and security issues that can arise from access to this information.

When marketers look for opportunities within the acquisition, they should ask: “Are we putting employee privacy at risk?”

Companies should ensure they are following local regulatory requirements and are transparent with employees how they will use the data and provide the opportunity to opt out, the report states.

Enterprises should also ask whether they are exposing their organisation to breaches by integrating with LinkedIn.

While the report states Microsoft’s cloud security assets will help strengthen the overall LinkedIn platform, this will not happen overnight.

“In the meantime, take precautions to protect high-profile accounts, privileged systems administrators, and brand accounts through continuous digital risk monitoring,” it advises.

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