3 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Security

January 16, 2016

4:00 pm

The web is rife with innovative crime tactics. Over the last few months, an unprecedented number of major corporations have fallen victim to cybercriminals – sparking a proverbial IT security gold rush. Yet whilst a vast majority of companies have been working tirelessly in order to protect their internal data, too few are stopping to contemplate how those same security measures could be applied to more visible online data.

We’re living in an age of social media. It doesn’t matter what sort of industry you’re in – a vast majority of your customers live, breath and shop on the web. That means it’d be foolish not to maintain a viable social media presence. Yet it’s worth bearing in mind that social media may also pose a few inherent risks to your corporate brand profile.

With just a single swipe of the finger, oversharing employees, poorly-worded tweets, and professional hackers could all transform your digital dreams into a publicity nightmare. As a result, you’ve got to implement a clear line of protection and formulate a strategy to ensure that your social media presence is helping (and not hindering) your overall business plan.

So, here are three simple ways to beef up your social media security:

1. Don’t Try to Keep Your Employees from Using Social Media

It’s not hard to see why an employer would consider banning social media use in the office. After all, constant access to sites like Facebook can severely hinder productivity. More importantly, some of your employees may have a loose tongue when it comes to sharing company information on the web. That being said, attempts to block social media access will always come back to bite you.

No matter what sort of firewalls you’re creating in order to ban sites, your employees will find a way around them. There are hundreds of thousands of proxy servers out there that individuals can use in order to reach banned sites. Yet by using these low-security proxies, your employees will effectively (if inadvertently) be digging holes through your corporate firewall from the inside. That will allow cybercriminals a clear path with which to bypass your IT security and steal sensitive data.

So, make it easy on yourself and give the people what they want.

2. Offer a Crash Course on Privacy

You may not be able to keep your employees from wasting time on social media, but you can empower them with the right tools to peruse the web safely. It’s shocking just how few social media users choose to take advantage of useful, built-in privacy settings. By teaching your employees to use and manage those settings, you can prevent strangers from seeing unintentional disclosures about your company.

That means you’ve got to be up-to-date on new privacy rules, too. Find out what social media sites your employees frequent, and then scrutinize the terms and conditions of those sites. Develop a firm understanding of the sort of privacy features these sites offer, and then explain to your employees how and why they should be implemented. Yes, they’re grown adults and they should be able to figure all of this out for themselves – but they probably don’t realize how their own personal IT security may be compromising the security of their company.

It’s up to you to help them connect the dots.

3. Find the Right Skills

Your company’s social media security depends heavily upon maintaining a highly-trained IT department. Your technical workers are the ones responsible for your company’s digital strategy and data storage; therefore, you should be able to rely on them in order to address social media security risks head on. When hiring, ensure that your IT specialists are familiar with potential threats, counter measures and easy prevention techniques. Make it clear from the outset that those individuals should be staying up-to-date with emerging social media risks, and be able to relay that information both up and down the corporate ladder.

Like it or not, the web is constantly changing. Yet there’s no reason your company shouldn’t be able to evolve and grow along with it. Just remember: it falls on you to keep your ear to the ground and be aware of any and every threat that could damage your online profile. There’s no fool proof method in order to avoid lapses in IT security; however, there are plenty of measures you can take to maximise prevention.

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Rachel Craig is a B2B expert at Quality Formations, one of the UK’s leading company formation services providers. She specialises in limited company formation, statutory compliance and corporate taxation.

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