Blog Risk Assessment Teams

    May 17, 2005

Compliance Solutions Advisor takes a look at the risks of business blogging — pointing out many things to consider but also, I think, misunderstanding the spontaneous and personal nature of blogging.

In Managing the Business Risk of Blogs Christopher Byrne and Richard Schwartz discusses employee misbehaviour, sexual harassment claims, vulnerability to phishing, misuse of corporate assets and many other questions. All in relation to employee blogging.

I do think they exaggerate. I mean, how many sexual harassment claims have we seen in the business blogosphere? Is there anything indicating that this is a risk? At the same time I think it’s foolish to dismiss concerns of this nature. They’re real. People with the power to say yes or no to blogging have them.

Byrne/Schwartz recommends companies to assemble a risk assessment team. And this is the point where I believe they give bad advice. The people they want to put in charge of developing a blogging policy are the following:

  • Senior company official
  • Research consultant
  • Human resources manager
  • Chief information officer
  • Risk management consultant
  • Computer security expert
  • Cyber-insurance broker
  • Training specialist
  • Writing coach
  • Public relations manager
  • Where are the bloggers, I ask. If a company doesn’t have any, why not wait a short while to have at least some real life experience to use in the process? And what are the computer security expert and cyber-insurance broker doing there anyway?

    Compare this approach to IBM, where apparently IBM bloggers wrote the guidelines (although certainly with the help of legal experts). Or compare it to many of the other policies we’ve seen, where often a high-profile blogger has set the ground rules for his co-workers.

    I wouldn’t have mentioned this if I thought it was just two risk/management consultants making a case for their services. I think this approach is something we will see more of. And I think it’s a genuinely bad idea.

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    Fredrik Wacka is the author and founder of the popular CorporateBlogging.Info blog which is a guide to business and corporate blogging.

    Visit Fredrik Wacka’s blog: CorporateBlogging.Info.