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Social media seen as threat by risk managers, research shows

Risk managers view social media and the potential threat it poses to reputation and up keep of confidential data as a key concern, a new study has revealed.

Research by the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) in cooperation with the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) revealed that almost half of the respondents cited reputation risk as their main worry while a fifth said loss of confidential data via social media was a worry.

Customer information theft, malicious attacks on IT systems and non-malicious operational technology risks ranked alongside social media as the greatest threats to businesses, risk professionals said.

Michel Dennery, FERMA vice-president, said: “We have to take care of the really valuable information, the information that we use to make money, the information that gives us competitive advantage. It needs much more protection today because the environment is much more open.”

However, he emphasised the advantages of social media as an information sharing tool, which can enhance communication with suppliers and stakeholders.

Further findings from the study showed that almost two-thirds of the survey respondents have a social media policy already in place, while 14 per cent are looking to implement similar guidelines.

Recent findings from a study of by iContact showed that a quarter of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) do not trust social media.

The survey found that Facebook was the most popular social networking platform among participants.

By Jim Ottewill