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NE firms must socialise more

Tuesday 11 December 2012 6:00

North East businesses must build on their appetite for social media, developing a mature policy to avoid the risk of hurting their ‘bottom line’, according to a new report.

The survey of more than 1,000 executives across the country by KPMG found that the North East is ahead of the national average when it comes to using social media commercially, with 90% of businesses in the region active, compared to the 86% national average.

The region’s private sector is also largely open to the use of social media by employees with just 16 percent refusing staff access to social media tools at work.

However nearly a third of businesses in the region (27%) have experienced a social media related security issue, from the leaking of information, to malware attacks and reputational concerns due to complaints.

Despite this, the survey findings suggest security is not a key concern to the eleven percent of North East businesses which don’t believe that passwords should be changed regularly.

Martin Tyley, director and head of information protection at KPMG in the North, said: “Organisations across the private sector are usually the first 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.”

Tyley added: “It is a mistake for any organisation to think that social networks will only have a short-term impact. There are already far too many examples of businesses being forced to back-track or apologise because they either took too long to react or refused to put safeguards in place.  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.”