United Kingdom


  • Service: Advisory
  • Industry: Communications
  • Date: 17/10/2012

Laissez-faire attitude to social media is a major threat to organisational security, warns KPMG 

Too many staff in organisations across the UK are posting comments online about business activity, with their actions posing a major threat to client and company confidentiality. The problem is made worse by a lack of internal control and failure to recognise the increased risk of security breaches, according to KPMG’s head of cyber response.


In a keynote speech to delegates at the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors conference in London today, Martin Jordan warned that companies adopting a laissez-fair approach to employee social media activity may be exposing themselves to unnecessary high levels of risk.  His comments come against a backdrop of research revealing that 1 in 4 c-suite executives admit sensitive information has been leaked to the public through sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter*.


With 1 in 3 of those working in organisations with blocked access also finding ways to circumvent security protocols on their work devices to meet social networking needs and just 48 percent providing 2 hours or less social media training per year*, it appears that many organisations have not grasped the dangers that social media presents or taken sufficient steps to secure themselves.


Martin Jordan, a partner within KPMG Risk Consulting, told the summit: “Too many organisations mistakenly believe that the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn are the only social media sites to worry about, but their popularity in the UK does not make them a unique threat.  In an increasingly global world, with satellite offices and customers around the world, attention must be given to country-specific social networking sites such as those in China and parts of the Middle East.  Even at a local level it is amazing how the simple tricks are the ones that are missed.  How often, for example, are passwords changed?  How many are too simple to be safe?


“No one is suggesting draconian measures are the answer to protect company reputations, but adopting an ‘ostrich approach’ will not make the problem disappear.  At the very least business leaders need to find the balance between doing the right thing for their staff, their reputation and their clients and this often means imposing measures to clarify acceptable levels of communication online.”




Media enquiries:
Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
020 7311 5271 (t), 07917 384 576 (m) or mike.petrook@kpmg.co.uk

Notes to Editors:
* Rethinking Human Resources in a Changing World, KPMG / EIU research (October 2012), KPMG ‘Attitudes towards social Media’ survey (September 2012) and KPMG ‘Going Social’ survey (2011).


About KPMG
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 11,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.7 billion in the year ended September 2011. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  KPMG International provides no client services.