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Social Media and Risk

Kevin Malicki keeps financial institutions up-to-date on Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) as Director of Product Management at Harland Clarke.


Today we’re going to discuss social media.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn.

I’m sure you realize there are security risks involved in social media use. Spread of misinformation, negative mentions, decrease in stock value, fraudulent accounts and scams, compliance breaches — these risks are real.

And the numbers are pretty shocking: Research by Proofpoint finds that some 40% of Facebook accounts and 20% of Twitter accounts that claim to represent a Fortune 100 brand are unauthorized.

But even if you’re not in that Top 100 category, you are not immune to social media fraud such as:

  • phishing for personally identifiable information
  • malware
  • protest, and
  • satire

Some of these schemes — particularly phishing schemes that try to get your customer’s account numbers and passwords — can be dangerous to your account holders and their money. All of these types of instances can be damaging to your institution’s reputation – and all are skyrocketing in terms of frequency and severity.

This is why your financial institution needs an updated social media policy — to protect your institutional reputation and defend against security risks. In addition to outlining what’s acceptable and what’s not, the policy should outline who is responsible for specific governance tasks. For example:

– Who is responsible for scanning or monitoring your social media presence for comments and complaints?

– Who is allowed to post on behalf of your financial institution, and what type of disclaimer should employees use when they publicly comment on something related to your business?

And finally,

– What is your response plan either for a security breach or a public relations crisis?

As you know, the Consumer Financial Protection Board requires tracking of complaints. Your governance, risk and compliance solution can be helpful in this regard by facilitating policy and complaint management and response tracking.

With all you have on your plate, it’s easy to overlook something as everyday as social media. But know that the risk is real.

>>Ready to improve your institutions’ risk and compliance efforts? Click here to get the 40 question checklist, “Questions Institutions Should Ask When Assessing Data Breach Risk.


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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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