Governance Goes Social

Posted By: Admin, 14 Jun, 2013 - 08:33 pm

You can’t escape from the compelling arguments for the organisation’s utilisation of social media. The press continues to highlight the success of organisations utilising social media for “taking the pulse” of the market. However, mistakes and missteps by organisations are highly visible, and the impact of viral attention in this area is widely known.

That is why this is the time to consider the structure of an enterprise-wide governance program designed to address the organisational risks introduced by social media adoption, while fostering an environment that supports innovative adoption of these tools to support a wider company strategy.

According to a recent study conducted by KPMG, more than 70 percent of organisations worldwide are using at least one form of social media to enhance their presence on the Web. Additionally, today’s workforce is spending a significant amount of time on social media sites at work, at home, and on mobile devices. In fact, 86 percent of respondents to a KPMG survey of consumers responded that they use social media every day, with three quarters of respondents stating that they access social media from their personal computers.

This is fuelling massive growth in the amount of information being shared through non-traditional means, including collaboration sites, social and business networking sites, blogs, instant messages, and other social media channels. As companies and individuals continue to use social media technologies in growing numbers and in different ways, the risk of data loss and companies’ exposure to legal liability also increases. Significant areas of risk include:
• Increased risk of legal liability or damage to reputation if organisations or their employees use social media inappropriately
• Potential loss of data, including intellectual property and personally identifiable information by employees who are participating in social media channels using corporate accounts or as individual users
• Increased risk of malware exposure on the network and other forms of Web-based attacks
• Impact to the network, resulting from increased use of bandwidth by individual users who access social media sites while at work

Building social media governance will not only help address risk— but also strengthen the organisation’s overall social media strategy. Organisations can take a proactive approach to addressing these risks by developing a well-reasoned social media privacy and security strategy as a component of the organisation’s overall social media governance framework.

Such a framework will have two main components:
? Governance of workforce use of social media, both on and off the company infrastructure
? Governance of the public-facing “voice of the company” programs that employ social media for marketing and communications purposes

A secure social media presence tends to have these 10 governance elements in common:
? Rules to flag unacceptable content
? A process for approving content
? Involvement from the legal team in setting down content guidelines
? An established procedure for handling escalation
? The means to track incidents until they’re resolved
? A procedure for handling any “rogue” social media accounts
? Single-point password control that goes across the entire enterprise
? Rules that limit the sharing of passwords
? Standards for managing access

By including data protection and privacy requirements, the organisation can meet its defined objectives for social media, including improved customer relations, brand enhancement, and stronger business development activities. A clear social media privacy and security strategy will also enable individual users to enjoy the benefits associated with being active members of online communities without exposing their employers to risk resulting from behaviour that is not compliant with the organisations’ privacy and security policies.


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