Study: Social Media Is a 'Critical' Area of Concern for Internal Auditors

A priority for internal auditors is managing the risks related to the use of social media within companies, a study released March 19 from Protiviti Inc. said. Protiviti is a consulting firm that serves major corporations with finance, technology, operations and internal audit problems.

Protiviti said companies should prioritize establishing a corporate social media strategy and creating a social media policy for addressing the risks related to use of the popular platforms.

Social media risks mentioned in the study, which was based on the responses of more than 600 audit professionals, included:

  • Financial loss;
  • Loss of intellectual property;
  • Viruses and malware;
  • Lower employee productivity;
  • Employee defamation;
  • Data leakage involving employee personal information;
  • Data security involving company information; and
  • Damage to the company brand or reputation.

Respondents said that some of the factors inhibiting auditors' ability to assess social media risk are lack of management support, inadequately trained staff, lack of IT support, human resources policies and perceived cost. However, 26 percent of respondents said there were no inhibitors to evaluating risk.

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