Business reputation is one of a business’s most valuable intangible assets, which directly affects capitalization and is the area of greatest strategic risk. Reputation takes a long time to build, but can be destroyed literally in a day.
Businesses today suffer enormous financial losses due to reputational losses. In most cases, the greatest threat to a business’s reputation is the businessperson her or himself. People post information online, which is bound to be used against them at some point by attackers. Words, actions, and publications can be interpreted in a variety of ways, some of them deliberately hostile. Despite the efforts of public relations specialists and spindoctors, information remains dangerous to people’s reputations. This will remain the case until a solution is found, or until businesspeople themselves cease providing these weak links in their reputational armor.
This highly topical issue was discussed at a meeting at the Kyiv office of the European Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, under the patronage of the Information Security Institute.
A large part of the meeting was devoted to the phenomenon we term “reputational suicide”. This phenomenon is widely discussed in expert circles. As mentioned above, reputation takes far longer to build than to destroy, and a businessperson often brings about their own downfall. In these cases, we speak of a “reputational suicide”. This is hardly ever deliberate, and it most often occurs through mistakes made in the online space. It happens when a businessperson leaves information in the public domain which attackers can easily exploit to discredit them.
This was a unique meeting, in which experts theorized the emerging profession of reputation inspector. A reputational inspector uses the NEURO-SHIELD technology to reduce reputational risks.
A reputation inspector is someone who looks professionally at people’s profiles through the prism of reputation in light of information threats, and sees all the possible threats in the person’s internal and external environment. Most importantly, the inspector knows how to manage reputation so as to minimize risks, including the methods used to build, protect, restore, and destroy reputations.
Reputational suicide is a conscious or unconscious action of a person that lead to the destruction of their own or their company’s business reputation.
For this meeting, our experts prepared a list of 25 ways in which businesspeople have committed reputational suicide or harmed themselves through unnecessary actions. The details are too extensive to describe here, and giving examples would create a misleading picture. Therefore, this information will remain with those who were present or listened to the audio stream of the meeting.
These 25 major vulnerabilities form only a small part of a reputation audit. A reputation inspector should be able to carry out a complete reputation audit which provides a major tool for developing and maintaining a reputation.