Wrong tweet can cost your boss S$4.8 million
US - Employees who misuse Twitter or other social media sites can cost their company up to S$4.81 million annually.
Symantec's 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll discovered that organisations stand to lose an average of US$4.3 million (S$5.17 million) if their employees make social media mis-steps.
Some 28% of firms indicated damage to their image or loss of consumer trust due to social media mis-use totalled up to US$638,496 (S$767,925). More than a quarter coughed up $184,714 (S$222,157) due to loss of organisation, consumer or employee data.
One in four firms lost US$619,360 (S$744,985) in revenue and 21% incurred US$641,993 (S$772,209) in direct financial cost due to social media misuse. The largest payout was spent on litigation costs, which was a hefty US$650,361 (S$782,196) for 15% of respondents while 16% reported reduced stock price at US$1,038,401 (S$1,248,896).
Some 94% of companies surveyed were facing "some sort of negative consequences" linked to social media, with most have had experienced on average nine incidents over the past year. They include damage to their reputations, loss of customer trust, data loss and lost revenue.
Respondents' biggest worries about social media include employees sharing too much information (46%), exposure of confidential information (41%) and embarrassment to reputation (40%).
In spite of the risks, companies acknowledged that social media participation is beneficial and necessary. Eight in ten are looking into solutions that could gather, retain and uncover sensitive data sent through social networks, together with implementing policies (87%) and training programmes (86%).
Nevertheless, only less than a quarter of respondents have enforced any of these measures.
Greg Muscarella, senior director of product management for Symantec's information management group, said it's important to "protect and preserve" sensitive corporate information flowing through social networks. "Employee education and training on the proper use of social media for business purposes is just as important as having the technology pieces in place."
Symantec suggests that firms protect themselves by being specific on the use of social media and coaching employees to post appropriate material. Firms should also look into archiving methods to retain social media content, while preventing data loss and leaks.
The survey polled more than 1,000 employees and focused on the risks associated with lawsuits, security infringements and public relations mess.
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