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Social media: A neglected business continuity alternative

The New York Times recently was a victim of a data breach.
The New York Times recently was a victim of a data breach.

Social media websites have gained lots of traction in recent years among businesses, individuals and government agencies. Local governments can inform residents where to find shelters and hot sites during natural disasters. In fact, it is where more people hear about developments and breaking news, but a study from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that companies are not utilizing these platforms and what they can offer during a crisis.

"We're telling our clients that they must first look through their crisis communication plan for ways to use social media as an effective communication channel to employees, key third parties, customers and stakeholders," Phil Samson, PwC Business Continuity Management service leader, told CSO.

Social media is also important, but the report showed that businesses often overlook this outlet. Out of the 300 respondents, 57 percent said they did not integrate social media into their crisis communication plan.

However, businesses are taking more control of their cyber security, perhaps in response to data breaches or network intrusions from organizations like the Syrian Electronic Army. Last month, the New York Times was the latest victim of this political group, which shut down its website twice in two weeks, according to NBC News.

During the breach, the Times chief information officer Mark Frons told employees to send emails with caution because the server was not secure. At the same time, the newspaper communicated with readers on Twitter, redirecting them to a secondary website to read the publication's content.

Data breaches can occur at any given moment, making it more important for businesses to have a disaster recovery plan. Business continuity consultants can help organizations create a plan that balances the use of disaster recovery and social media protocols.