It’s no secret that Social Media brings more leads than other platforms. It has made the world a more connected place. That’s a good thing, but all those connections also allows unprecedented access to people’s and business’ information. And that can be worse if hackers and scammers get involved.
Reportedly, worldwide security breach costs will reach up to $6 Trillion by 2021 – a 100% rise from 2015, with social media being an essential channel for cybercriminals. Giving up social media is not a reasonable solution, neither is it sensible to use social networks insecurely.
Having strong governance practices is essential to manage increasing social media security risks. It’s not for you or me, but for your brand reputation, data protection, and leads demand it!
You need to take the right steps to protect your company against some of the most unwelcome hackers, but for effective governance practices, it is essential to understand the potential threats. This is how you can prevent, or at least, mitigate the increasing attacks.
Let’s disclose the typical social media security issues!
Social Media Security Risks
Some of the most common security issues are:
- Unattended Social Media Profiles – It’s good to reserve your brand’s handle on all social media channels but ignoring any channel means hackers can post anything (fraudulent messages, virus-infected links, false information) under your name.
- Human Error – Clicking or downloading the wrong link or file could wreak havoc.
- Phishing Scams & Brand Impersonation – Phishing involves setting up a fake website resembling that of the company whose customers are targeted to seek sensitive information (login credentials, credit card information, etc.).
- Connected Apps – Most company profiles are connected to different accounts – listening system, publishing system, analytics system, etc.; these can be in-roads to access, so the security practices around them are also critical.
- Malware Hacks and Attacks – Social media hackers are sophisticated, gaining access to big-name Twitter accounts, from Mark Zuckerberg to Kylie Jenner, to several HBO shows. These hacks were benign but others were way more serious.
- Privacy settings – A survey found that around two-thirds of people have “very little” or “no” trust in social networks in terms of privacy protection. For brands, the risk to privacy is way higher because of the usage – business and personal use.
- Unsecured Mobile Devices – What if your, or an employee’s, phone is lost or stolen. One-tap click makes it easy for hackers to access social accounts. They can message all of your connections with phishing or malware attacks.
Such attacks are becoming more frequent and pernicious. It’s essential for organizations to review their social media and digital risk processes and practices to understand their respective threats. This will help them to better prepare organizations to secure their business, employees, customers, and brand against information leakages and data breaches.
With that in mind, let’s explore the three most important ways organizations can “clean up” their social media presence to secure their data and ensure protection.
Tip 1: Protect company data
Data is an asset of an organization. To evaluate the risks associated with the data, understanding the data and accounts an organization owns is a must. To start, keep an inventory of social media accounts, e-commerce sites, domains, and any other digital channels owned or affiliated with your organization that will provide valuable insights. Don’t forget to review the privacy settings of your accounts during the inventory process to ensure that data is well protected.
To deal with this issue, consider these questions;
- What are you sharing?
- Who can see your posts?
- What about your locations, contact information, or any other private details?
So, how can you protect the data your company owns?
- Good passwords – choose stronger passwords and never reuse a password. In case you’re sharing account passwords for any reason, consider a password manager rather than sharing sensitive information using spreadsheets or text files.
- Monitor and evaluate early warning signs of risky account behavior. Once hacked, bad actors often immediately change profile names, pictures, biographies, and other details. Because of this, organizations should review their, as well as their followers’, accounts and purge any suspicious follower/s.
- To restrict cybercriminals from hijacking your company’s account, hack-proof tools like firewall, VPN, etc. should be considered to keep the data secure, both in the system and the cloud.
- Part of your governance process should also include a Discovery system to find counterfeit accounts. Once found, send them to the Legal department for Cease and Desist procedures.
Recognizing such signs can help security teams take immediate action if an owned account is hijacked.
Tip 2: Protect employees and their networking
Savvy employees are an organization’s brand ambassadors, especially on social media. They use numerous software tools to share or repost the latest company news with their personal accounts.
To ensure employee data is safe, empower your staff to protect themselves by training and educating them. Investing in more straightforward tools for employees to securely and confidently share company news will also aid in this endeavor as well.
Reviewing and updating outdated policies as part of your cleaning process will help to develop training programs for employees that not only guide them regarding corporate social media policies, but also promote social media security practices.
What key topics should you consider? Have a look!
- What kind of information should or can never be shared digitally.
- Policy details to engage with customers.
- Policy details related to internal channels and management tools, e.g., Slack.
Although many companies have already invested in training employees to understand the security risks associated with applications like email, in today’s digital age, it is wise to do the same for social media channels as well.
Be sure to implement a policy restricting employees from connecting to applications tied to social accounts that are not approved by the social media governance.
Tip 3: Protect Customers’ data too
Keeping accounts secure not only protects an organization’s brand against impersonators, cybercriminals, offensive content, and spam, but also protects social media followers and customers.
In that vein, organizations must strive for uber transparency in their use of customer data and vigilantly monitor and protect against misuse or breach. Invest in tools or processes to proactively identify and quickly remediate targeted attacks.
Equipping support teams and personnel with capabilities to identify and remove scams, malicious links, and account impersonations or takeovers will protect every stakeholder in the business and avoid reputation damage and/or costly disruptions.
Here’s a 10-step guide to help you build a social media protection program:
- Prepare a Task force
- Assess and prioritize Risks
- Assign designated roles and responsibilities
- Develop processes and Policies
- Train staff
- Monitor risks
- Look for trends and update policies accordingly
- Schedule policy audits
- Report and review
- Regularly upgrade your social media protection checklist
This is the perfect time for all entrepreneurs to spruce up their social-media security program, incorporating best-practices. From digital marketing to security protocols, identifying and mitigating risks wherever possible, is crucial to the health of businesses.
Terry Higgins is an IT security expert, having a decade of experience working in Technology. He loves to write about online security and privacy. His passion is photography and traveling in his spare time.
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