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Social media risks surveyed

Symantec survey looks at social media incidents and their business impacts.

Symantec has published the findings of its 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll which examined how organizations protect themselves from negative consequences of using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other online forums.

The poll found that social media is pervasive within the enterprise, and that ‘IT departments have good reason to be worried’.

The typical enterprise experienced nine social media incidents, such as employees posting confidential information publicly over the past year, with 94 percent suffering negative consequences including damage to their reputations, loss of customer trust, data loss and lost revenue.

As organizations increasingly share business related information on social networks to communicate with customers, partners and employees, the risk of publishing confidential information also increases. It’s more important than ever for companies to have controls in place to capture social information to comply with open records requests, industry regulations such as the supervision requirements under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 10-06 amendments, and the eventuality of an eDiscovery request.

The 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll found that 82 percent of enterprises are at least discussing implementing archiving solutions to collect, preserve and discover sensitive business information transmitted through social media, along with other measures such as establishing social media usage policies and employee training programs. However, less than one-fourth have actually implemented any of those technologies and policies.

The top three social media incidents the typical enterprise experienced over the last year were:

  • Employees sharing too much information in public forums (46 percent),
  • The loss or exposure of confidential information (41 percent),
  • Increased exposure to litigation (37 percent)

More than 90 percent of respondents who experienced a social media incident also suffered negative consequences as a result, including:

  • Reduced stock price (average cost: $1,038,401 USD)
  • Litigation costs (average cost: $650,361 USD)
  • Direct financial costs (average cost: $641,993 USD)
  • Damaged brand reputation/loss of customer trust (average cost: $638,496 USD)
  • Lost revenue (average cost: $619,360 USD)

Symantec recommendations

- Like all corporate communications, define how to use social media and train employees regarding appropriate content to post.

- Identify and understand legal or regulatory requirements specific to your industry, and implement policies to address regulations that call for retention of social media content.

- Consider deploying an archiving solution that enables the automatic capture and retention of social media content, especially if your industry is highly regulated.

- Implement a data loss prevention solution to provide another layer of protection to prevent confidential and proprietary information from bleeding out of the company onto social networks.

Symantec’s Social Media Protection Flash Poll is the result of research conducted in April 2011 by Applied Research, which surveyed IT and C-level professionals responsible for computers, networks and technology resources at small, medium, and large enterprises (defined as 1,000-2,400, 2,500-4,999, and 5,000+ employees). The report was designed to gauge how organizations protect themselves from negative consequences of using social media. The survey included 1,225 respondents in 33 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific, and Latin America.


•Date: 27th July 2011 • Region: World •Type: Article • Topic: BC statistics

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