Businesses understand social media risks but fail to take precautions, says survey

Businesses are using social media without taking adequate measures to monitor staff activity, which could open them up to security attacks and create compliance risks.

Businesses are using social media without taking adequate measures to monitor staff activity, which could open them up to attacks and create compliance risks.

The survey of 500 IT staff within medium- to large-sized UK companies was carried out by managed service provider Bluesource.

The survey revealed 58% of the companies questioned are using social media as part of their business strategy. But although almost all these companies realised there were security and compliance risks associated with social media, only a third have policies in place to control its use. This compares to 83% of companies that have policies to control the use traditional applications such as e-mail.

Three quarters of respondents were in favour of social media, while only 16% were not considering it.

The survey found the most used social media tool was Twitter, with Facebook close behind. Business network LinkedIn and YouTube were the third and fourth most popular, respectively.

"Our survey shows an unstoppable upward trend of social media usage by a cross-section of UK organisations. However, what is becoming increasingly apparent is that this adoption is creating new security and compliance headaches.

"Organisations' IT departments will need help in planning against and managing social media threats - so businesses operations can safely enjoy the benefits," said Andrew Mckeeve, COO at Bluesource.

Corporations have run into trouble by allowing staff to utilise tools such as Twitter in their work. In 2009 Habitat was heavily criticised for exploiting the unrest in Iran to help it make sales through microblogging website Twitter.

Click here for examples of business marketing blunders on Twitter >>

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