Protiviti: WikiLeaks – Wake-Up Call for All Companies

Bob Styran, IT audit expert
December 04, 2010 /

Protiviti, risk consulting and internal audit firm, calls recent WikiLeaks disclosures “wake-up call” for companies not thinking of their data governance or understanding the comprehensive list of sensitive information as “credit card, social security and medical”.

In recent Protiviti report, WikiLeaks and its business model are called new source of risk for reputation and liability exposure.

As an example Protiviti shows recent 3.2% / 36 cents fall of shares of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), caused by promise of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, in his interview to Forbes to disclose in the beginning of 2011 information about how “major American bank” “behave at the executive level”. Assange compared these disclosures with “Enron e-mails”.

This broadens WikiLeaks influence, makes it not only political but economical weapon, and opens “new age of involuntary transparency in which an organization’s or government’s secrets are divulged using technology unimagined a generation ago”.

Not questioning ultimate goal of WikiLeaks to be “a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices” report proposes critically look at risk of “severe collateral damage occurring along the way”. Even being banned from USA and France, WikiLeaks can find its safe harbour in Iceland and enjoy free-information regime and represent risk.

As an ultimate preventive step, Protiviti report appeals to top management and boards of companies, who are, according to Data Governance report of Initiate Systems, have least interest in and are most affected by information leaks, to critically look at existing in their companies data governance frameworks, that expected to cover whole information assets life cycle and avoid leaks, that could be just embarrassing, cost company some reputation or even question viability of the company.


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