Social media: private companies can learn from public sector lead, says KPMG
- Public sector more adept at protecting itself ‘online’
- Social media seen as ‘distraction from work’ by private sector businesses
- Fear of litigation is a major factor behind cautious approach to social networks
Private companies from sectors as diverse as finance, telecoms, energy, IT and retail should follow the example set by organisations in the public sector, or risk widespread reputational damage. According to data released today by KPMG, the private sector’s failure to adapt to the demands of social media poses a threat to the bottom line, as inadequate responses to online activity contribute to service disruption and low levels of customer satisfaction.
Figures from a survey of more than 1,000 senior business executives suggest that problems arise because a significant proportion of businesses across the private sector view social networking as a ‘distraction from work’, which should be ignored. The research highlights that 1 in 5 executives in the financial services sector claim that social media shouldn’t be accessible in the workplace. The same belief was held by 1 in 3 of those in the design and media sectors – but these figures compare to less 1 in 10 across the public sector.
It also appears that employers across the private sector are unable to distinguish between professional and personal use of social media sites and tools, by their employees. The result is a high level of exposure to fraud and data theft, with many organisations falling victim to ‘phishing’ scams or leaking sensitive information.
David Elms, Partner and Head of the Media sector at KPMG, 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 exercise as consumers has, so far, failed to materialise in the workplace.
“The same cannot be said of organisations operating within the public sector as the evidence suggests a more mature approach to social media. It may be born out of the fear of the repercussions that lost data will bring, or recognition that there is duty of care to manage information securely. Whatever the driving force, it is clear that UK industry needs to follow this lead.”
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