Symantec’s Study Confirms Newsroom Ink’s Security Issues With Social Media

by / Newsroom Ink on 07/28/2011

by Springfield Lewis, Newsroom Ink’s Director of Strategic Communication

Recent findings have revealed the pervasive spread of social media within companies, and both the companies and their IT departments have good reason to be worried about potential risks. A company experiences an average of nine social media incidents a year, such as employees publicly posting confidential information. More than 90 percent of these companies suffer negative consequences that include damage to their reputations, loss of customer trust, data loss and lost revenue.

The 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll, commissioned by Symantec Corporation, announced findings which examined how organizations protect themselves from negative consequences of using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others.

The risk of publishing confidential information increases as organizations increasingly share business related information on social networks to communicate with customers, partners and employees. Companies must have controls in place to capture social media information to comply with open records requests, eDiscovery requests and industry regulations.

A recent article by Newsroom Ink published by Bulldog Reporter’s Daily’Dog, Facebook – Not the Place for the Public Face of a Company’s PR Strategy, highlighted the potential dangers that social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and others pose for a company’s reputation management. According to the article, social media sites face security issues, and the company newsroom is the “safe and secure” content engine for a company’s social media.

In the world of social media, Twitter has become the headline. Facebook is the front page. Blogs are the editorials. The online newsroom is the entire publication. It becomes a company’s content engine – complete with social media – that’s archived for history.

“Businesses know how important it is to protect and preserve email, IM, spreadsheets and other unstructured information. Now they need to recognize that information flowing through social networks is equally important,” said Greg Muscarella, senior director of product management for Symantec’s Information Management Group, in a recent Daily’Dog article.

The survey found the top three social media incidents experienced over the last year were:

▪ employees sharing too much information in public forums (46 percent),
▪ loss or exposure of confidential information (41%),
▪ increased exposure to litigation (37%)

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)
▪ litigation costs (average cost: $650,361)
▪ direct financial costs (average cost: $641,993)
▪ damaged brand reputation/loss of customer trust (average cost: $638,496)
▪ lost revenue (average cost: $619,360)

Recommendations from Symantec’s study include:

▪ 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
▪ Deploy 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

The poll is the result of research conducted in April 2011 by Applied Research. It surveyed IT and C-level professionals responsible for computers, networks and technology resources at small, medium, and large enterprises. 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.

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