Social media and the role of Internal Audit - Deloitte Africa Blog

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The postdigital grapevine Social media and the role of Internal Audit

Preface

Organisations today are embracing new digital technologies to leapfrog or keep pace with growing competition in the marketplace.

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Organisations today are embracing new digital technologies to leapfrog or keep pace with growing competition in the marketplace. Powerful platforms (such as mobile, analytics, social media, cloud, and cyber intelligence) can potentially impact every facet of the organisation and create new opportunities. However these emerging technologies and platforms can also introduce significant disruptive forces into the business. The convergence of these macro forces reflects a new basis for competition, is changing the environment in which we both live and work, and has become the core of the “Postdigital Enterprise.” It is therefore critical to understand the risks of integration as constantly changing digital technologies become the norm. This whitepaper is part of our series on the Postdigital Enterprise, which focuses on how organisations can leverage the disruptive forces of digital technologies, mitigate emerging risks, and capitalise on breakthrough thinking. We encourage you to share this whitepaper with colleagues – executives, board members, and key managers at your company. The issues outlined herein can serve as the starting point for the crucial dialogue on helping your company achieve its goals as a Postdigital Enterprise.

The postdigital grapevine: Social media and the role of Internal Audit With more and more users linking, liking, friending, and following, the “postdigital grapevine” is an important medium for communicating with customers. No longer confined to areas of entertainment and life management, social media and social software have become an integral part of the postdigital business landscape. According to the South African Social Media Landscape 2012 study, 95% of major brands surveyed have some form of social media strategy aimed at consumers. With more and more users linking, liking, friending, and following, the “postdigital grapevine” is an important medium for communicating with customers, increasing brand awareness, and promoting innovation and collaboration among employees. While the benefits of social media are alluring, the risks of adoption should not be ignored. Several business executives have expressed concerns that the use of social software and social media may erode a company’s brand over time due to the potential risks that accompany increased organisational transparency and openness. A 2012 Forrsights Security Survey reported that social media was one of the top three concerns for enterprises, with data leakage, social account hijacking, regulatory compliance, and human resources concerns high on the list of challenges.

Here are instances where social media may have harmed an organisation’s brand and reputation, or it is feared that it might have future damaging effects: • A hacker gained access to the twitter account of a public entity (security company) to post a tweet of a “miracle diet” on the public site’s account. The company changed their password to the account as soon as they realised what had happened. However multiple people had already become aware of what had happened. This created serious doubt to those people who put their trust in this security company. • In the political arena, social media has the power to influence millions of people. The “Arab Spring” revolutions serve as the best example of the powerful effect and impact that social media platforms can have. However, with the ability to mobilise many people, it is believed that social media will play a pivotal role. A concern whether the content that is being put out on social media is true or not has prompted leaders in Africa to start taking steps to control it, especially during sensitive periods such as election time. These examples and other similar incidents are a rallying cry for Internal Audit (IA) to be proactive in underst