Experian tackles social media risk

It’s an important step in the era of high-profile hacks and hijackings of services like Twitter. “Protecting our reputation is core to Experian’s business,” wrote Experian security specialist Caroline Bromley, in a recent blog post. “With the growth in social media, we have had to balance our desire to embrace the latest communications technologies with the need to limit any potential risk to our reputation through ill-thought-out posts or, worse, deliberate sabotage.”

Financial institutions are also compelled by law into greater central oversight than that required of other industries, as any comment made on their behalf might be construed as financial advice, which is strictly regulated. Having multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts jeopardizes this central oversight, and this is the first challenge that has to be met: the requirement to monitor, approve and amend all comments made on the company’s behalf.

“The platform gives me control over user permissions across the entire business, as well as the ability to block, automatically delete or flag posts that fall outside what I consider acceptable parameters,” said Bromley in announcing the security effort. “This enables us to catch potentially damaging posts or tweets before they go live. The legal team likes this too.”

Experian also found itself with a need to manage a diverse range of requirements for its social media activity, with its marketing and PR departments, integrated business units, service and support departments and designated legal department all requiring something different. That makes security trickier to implement.

“For instance, the marketing department wants analytics and graphs, monitoring and brand management,” the company noted. “Security demands different levels of access, central control and a clear audit trail.” 

To get a handle over its risky social media environment, Experian deployed the CrowdControlHQ platform. From a security and compliance perspective, it provides a dashboard that gives Experian the ability to centrally monitor, manage and control all of its branded social media accounts. It also offers security features such as password restrictions, tiered user permissions and a clear audit trail.

When it comes to social media, risks run deep, from malware infections to loss of confidential data, as well as unauthorized sharing data on file sharing sites such as DropBox. In the latest Ponemon Global Survey on Social Media Risks Survey, 63% of more than 4,000 respondents agreed that social media represents a serious business risk, yet only 29% report having adequate controls to manage that risk.

And, a full 82% of chief marketing officers surveyed by IBM last year said that they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years.

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