Firms warned to take note of social networks

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YORKSHIRE businesses must develop a mature social media policy or risk hurting their bottom line, KPMG said, as it revealed that the region is well behind the national average when it comes to using social media commercially.

The professional services firm’s survey of more than 1,000 executives across the country found that 20 per cent of businesses in the Yorkshire region are not yet active in using social media comercially, compared to the 14 per cent national average.

However, the region’s private sector is more open to use of social media by employees than the national average, with 80 per cent compared to 74 per cent comfortable with social media tools being accessed at work.

Nearly one in four businesses in Yorkshire have experienced a social media related security issue, from the leaking of information, to malware attacks and reputational concerns due to complaints, the research found. But, less than one in five Yorkshire businesses agreed that passwords should be changed regularly.

Martin Tyley, risk consulting director at KPMG in Leeds, said: “Business are usually quick to put measures in place protecting intellectual property and reputation. It seems, however, that the cautious approach to social media that many of us would expect has, so far, failed to materialise in the workplace.

“With the threat of data loss and litigation, as well as a duty of care obligation to manage information securely, Yorkshire businesses must take a more mature approach to managing their social media policy by providing more robust security measures, stronger usage guidelines and training.”

Mr Tyley added: “It is a mistake for any organisation to think that social networks will only have a short-term impact... It’s not just about monitoring online chatter; it is about creating clarity on who can represent the brand across social networks and establishing parameters for their engagement.”