Building stronger relationships with customers, improving communication and consensus among employees, increasing organizational efficiency – what does Facebook have to do with any of this? It’s pretty clear that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have given rise to a new standard of networking and communication, and now businesses are just beginning to apply the Facebook social networking model by using Secure Business Networking sites.The typical Secure Business Networking (or SBN) site resides on an externally-hosted platform that allows a business, non-profit, or other organization to create a secure, private forum for communication, discussion, and data transfer among its employees and clients. The main difference between an SBN site and a social networking site like Facebook is that all information associated with an SBN is protected within an encrypted database that only authorized users with unique passwords can access. A password can optionally be added to an uploaded file, for example, to ensure it is accessed only by the intended recipients. Secure Business Networking sites provide the type of security necessary to protect confidential, trade secret, or other sensitive business information, and can help businesses comply with federal regulations that require protection of client health and financial information.SBN sites not only provide encrypted file storage and transfer, but create a secure, collaborative forum for communication, problem-solving, and idea-exchange among employees, and between employees and clients/customers. Do you need to solve an urgent problem with one of your product lines? Start a discussion topic within your SBN site, invite key personnel, and troubleshoot in virtually real time. It can also easily complement more traditional forms of communication, automatically sending out emails to notify users when new files, messages, or discussion topics are posted.For SBN sites that are externally-hosted, businesses can be up and running very quickly with their own custom site – there’s no need to download an application, purchase additional hardware, or hire any IT support. It’s very similar to creating a Facebook account – in just a matter of minutes you’re ready to go.Secure Business Networking sites are now a real option for businesses that’s secure, cost-effective, and provide a level of communication that millions of Facebook users have come to appreciate. Given the tremendous growth and popularity of social networking sites, it’s not too surprising that businesses have started taking advantage of this very flexible, multidimensional approach to communication and networking.