Strategy

The CEO Poll: Wikileaks will change information flow

CEOs say media frenzy unwarranted, but Wikileaks will impact corporate security practices.

In addition to the political implications of the documents released by WikiLeaks, Canadian CEOs predict businesses will be affected. A recent Compas Inc. poll revealed that execs think the biggest change will have to do with the costs of protecting confidential information.

On a 7-point scale, where 1 means ‘not at all’ and 7 ‘a great deal,’ CEOs gave the statement that companies will invest more in protecting their technology systems a 5.5. When asked if companies will develop stronger legal contracts to deter the unauthorized release of information, they gave that possibility a 5.2. ‘Obviously there will be much tighter control,’ said one exec. ‘This will produce a huge cost to business and government.’

Some surveyed also thought disgruntled employees might take a cue from WikiLeaks and reveal secrets to the media (rating this factor at 4.2) or that they might bring along company secrets when they leave to work for a competitor (rated 4.0).

In terms of wider implications for corporate America, CEOs didn’t think the country’s image was tarnished and ranked the likelihood that foreign corporations would be less likely to do business with the U.S. government or companies very low. ‘There is a distinction between release of defense secrets and diplomatic opinion,’ said one exec. ‘Thus far, the releases have been of a diplomatic category only. The resulting fallout has likely been overestimated by media hype.’