Half of the risk managers surveyed at Ferma ranked social media a key cyber risk, alongside malicious attacks and data breaches

Duqu has attacked multiple companies and at least one university so far

The loss of confidential information through social media use is a key concern for Europe’s risk managers, according to a new survey.

Reputation damage is the main consequence that companies fear to see from social media data disclosure.

Fifty percent of 186 risk professionals questioned in a survey by Ferma and the IRM ranked reputation damage from social media as the major cyber threat.

Social media risks ranked alongside malicious attacks and data breach disclosure on a list of cyber risks.

To manage the risks of the virtual world companies normally have strict guidelines for employees’ use of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Sixty five percent of respondents already have a policy and 14% are in the process of implementing one. Mapping their cyber risks is another response to the threat, 53% of respondents are already doing so.

One major question for risk managers is still whether social media is productive or obstructive for their businesses.

In a workshop on cyber risk at the Ferma Forum in Stockholm in October, Ferma Vice-President Michael Dennery said: “The Web 2.0 tools expose us to a lot of risk. 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.”

Dennery commented that part of creating a working protective system in the virtual world is to combine the know-how of risk managers, legal and human resources and IT professionals.


Download StrategicRISK's cyber risk info-graphic

Download StrategicRISK’s cyber risk info-graphic

The survey indicated that other functions are not often involved in the risk management process, while their insight would be vital to deal with the new open information sharing environment.

One major question for risk managers is still whether social media is productive or obstructive for their businesses.

Despite the risk it presents social media is vital for communication. Social media analysts advise department officials to work together and share the knowledge over marketing, information technology and risk management to create a social media strategy for their company that mitigates the risks while seizing the opportunities.