While social media has provided businesses with the ability to reach customers globally and attract attention from brands and other influencers, social media has also left many businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Though social media has offered companies opportunities they otherwise would not have had access to, there are certain precautions businesses need to take in order to keep social media from hurting their business. These social media tips can help you keep your business secure.
Social Media Security Threats
What are some of the most threatening aspects of social media? That should be the first question you ask yourself, to ensure that you can properly prepare for such a threat. Here are some of the most common social media security threats, besides using one of the worst passwords that often lead to compromised accounts, that you should certainly look out for to ensure the safety of your business and its data:
- Targeted phishing
- Account compromise
- Physical and cyber attack
- Brand and executive impersonations
- Intellectual property loss
- Customer fraud and scams
- Piracy and counterfeit goods
If you own a business, the social media threats listed above should be of serious concern for you. Most importantly, you must learn how to protect yourself from these attacks at the most basic level. Then, you can consider outsourcing further security measures to a professional, like a business consultant who specializes in IT security. Keep reading to find out how to protect yourself.
Human Error On Social Media
One of the biggest social media risks for business is human error. This may seem surprising. However, if you have business social media accounts, you understand how real this threat is. Accidental tweets or posts could be terrible for public relations and marketing for business. However, the simple mistake of clicking on a single phishing link is enough of a mistake to stop business operations in their tracks. That is why training your employees is so crucial. Find out more about what to train employees on below.
With the right office security measures, social media can stay a beneficial tool your business utilizes instead of leaving your business as victim of a senseless crime. Here are a few social media tips to keeping your business safe and secure:
Privacy and Passwords
Personal social media accounts can be just as big of a problem as business social media accounts. For instance, many cyber crimes stem from an employee’s personal social media account. Many unintentionally offer valuable information about their work over their social media accounts. Even seemingly harmless information, such as their lunch break, when they arrive and leave work each day, and when they are away from the office can be valuable information to a hacker. It does not have to be web banking account information for the hacker to be able to infiltrate their accounts.
Speak with employees about their privacy settings, asking them to set them up for maximum security. Let them know that this precautionary measure is not only for the safety of the business, but also their own personal safety, for as an employee, they will be affected by whatever happens to the business.
Moreover, require employees to use good passwords while at work, especially if employees are managing the company’s social media sites. A strong, complex password is one of the best ways to keep hackers from breaking in, as it is far more difficult to crack. Additionally, passwords should never be written down or stored in cloud storage. Instead, look to use a password manager software, as they are far more secure. For more information, read here.
Before hiring any employees, speak with them about employment disclosure. Ask them to use discernment when using their social media accounts, including keeping their work information separate from their accounts.
Moreover, speak with them about how their actions could affect the company. Should they do anything that puts the company at risk, such as racist comments, inappropriate photos, or any other questionable content, let them know their job could similarly be at risk. Even though it is a personal account, as an employee of your company, they are representing your firm. Their poor judgement could potentially leave your business at risk for a lawsuit, and for most businesses, that is not a risk they can afford to take.
For instance, if a school hires a teacher, the school expects the teacher to act professionally—even outside of their job. If they were to post inappropriately, parents, teachers, and the school board would be furious. In most cases, the teacher would be let go, as they are now a liability to the school. Thus, should an employee do anything to jeopardize your business, they would be a liability your business could not afford to hold onto. Disclosing this information before hiring an employee is a must for managing people properly. It will help to keep them from acting on impulse, instead thinking thoroughly about their actions.
Social Media Policies
Because social media can be distracting, implement a social media policy at work. Productivity and motivation can already be difficult to instill in employees without the added distraction of Instagram and Facebook.
Some businesses have attempted to ban social media all together, installing firewalls to block employees from accessing it from the office. The problem with this is that there are employees who will still try to use social media and will eventually find a way to access it. Unfortunately, this can leave your business more prone to a cyber attack, as employees are now using the internet with no security parameters whatsoever.
Instead, implement social media policies, such as how often they can be on it, what will happen if they lose motivation and miss work deadlines, etc. Treat them like adults, and for the most part, employees will act like adults. For the few who cannot, it might be time to let them go.
Social media can be extremely beneficial to your business as long as it is done in a secure manner. Be smart about social media use in order to keep your business safe.
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