Whether you call it social media monitoring, open-source intelligence or something else, this practice may well be one your organization should consider adopting.  Many others already have.  In fact, open-source monitoring has quickly evolved from a marketing and PR activity to a valuable risk management tool.

Open-Source Monitoring Has Many Internal Champions.

The technical platform isn’t new. There are multiple tools and software programs available at many price points. What’s new is that corporate leaders across a variety of disciplines are learning how to leverage this capability to achieve their respective goals.

  1. Risk Management: Increase Your Insights Decision makers in this function are learning that establishing open-source and social media monitoring as “listening posts” can be exceptionally valuable for managing potential risks.  They’re able to track, measure and understand emerging themes – some of them negative – and understand how various audiences from employees to customers view the integrity of their brands, services and policies.  
  2. Legal Counsel: Identify Vulnerabilities in Your Case (or the Opposition’s) The General Counsel’s office – and outside counsel – is often the first to bring this capability to the enterprise. Whether the company is the plaintiff or defendant in a criminal or civil litigation matter, attorneys are increasingly utilizing social media monitoring to gather background information on subjects – or identify relationships among them – that are advantageous to the company’s interests.  
  3. Corporate Security: Protect Your People Chief Security Officers want to know who is posting comments and statements online that represent threats to executives, specific employees, a specific office or facility, or the general workforce.  Their principal concern is whether these are indications that a group or individual may be escalating behaviors and proceeding along a path that could lead to business disruption or violence.  
  4. Human Resources: Promote Positive Behaviors Managers in HR are also consumers of open-source monitoring information.  In some cases, posts by employees raise serious issues with respect to misconduct, conflicts of interests or integrity. 

Automation Alone is Not the Answer.

Many companies rely on automated software that provide increasingly more features that allow corporate users to filter, target and report vast quantities of information.  This can be useful – but only to a point.  Understanding the difference between making and posing a threat involves experience and expertise that most security personnel don’t possess.  And when issues of concern arise, they often require further inquiry – online and sometimes in the field – by seasoned investigators.

Digital Ears Up.   Eyes Wide Open.

Open-source monitoring isn’t appropriate for all organizations or situations.  But as one tool among many, it can be tremendously valuable in the early detection and understanding of potential risks and vulnerabilities that would likely go undetected otherwise.

Pre-transaction due diligence: is a Google search enough?