Keeping Your Business (and Customers) Safe on Social Media
This is a guest blog by Cassie Phillips. Bio at the bottom of the article.
I’d like to thank Out and About Marketing for sharing this information with its readers. It is an industry leader in providing information to those looking for marketing and social media. They know exactly what they are doing regarding whatever job or topic they take on, and their blog includes posts such as this report on small and medium businesses and their use of social media.
Social media is a key component to any digital marketing strategy launched in these times. Multiple accounts are needed on varied platforms in order to get coverage of the current field. Yet protection and a security plan are needed when using social media for your business. It is possible for cybercriminals or someone else who wishes ill toward your company to take over one of your social media accounts and post something that isn’t in line with the values and goals of your company. This is not the kind of press you want.
Here are some strategies and tips your business should consider when using social media:
Equipping Your Team with a Virtual Private Network
Someone, you or your employees/co-workers, will need to update the company social media account when outside of the safe confines of the office. In fact, it might be possible that you are on a risky public network at the time. The problem with this is if you use a company social media account on a public network, then the information related to the account (including usernames and passwords) can be intercepted by hackers and cybercriminals. This means the potential compromise of your account and a host of problems in the near future. Such an attack needs to be protected against.
This is what a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is for. A VPN is a service that will connect a device to an offsite server using an encrypted connection. This encrypted connection will protect any data that is being sent or received by the device, regardless of the network being used. It will also hide the IP address of the user, protecting their browsing habits and their location data.
There are a number of Virtual Private Networks out there, so you will want to read some reviews. You should take a look at one of the following websites to find the best VPN for your company’s needs:
Having Standard Practices and Policies Regarding Social Media
If everyone is on the same page regarding how social media can be used, there is less of a chance for error regarding social media and a reduced chance of a breach. Here are some common policies that you may want to consider for your company regarding social media use:
- In order to consider diversity and different sensibilities, any non-scheduled posts should be reviewed by more than one member of the team. Posts should avoid commenting on religious or political events except in the most neutral way possible.
- More than one person should have access to all social media accounts at any one time. A team leader or manager should have access to the usernames and passwords of all company social media accounts.
- Only specified and secured work devices should be used for company social media account access and interaction.
- Company social media activities should be monitored regularly and reviewed at regular intervals.
- Use of personal accounts should not be restricted on individual time, but the sharing of company secrets and practices should be prohibited on any social media. Lists of what can and cannot be shared regarding the business should be distributed.
Verification Procedures and Authenticity
Internet users have become skeptical and untrusting, and with good reason. You can find scams and imposters everywhere online, and social media is no exception. Look at how many people think posting a message to their wall will protect them from Facebook data collection. People are scared online, and they want verification and evidence that the page they are looking at really is representative of your company.
If you are running or working for a business of any size, it would be wise to invest time and resources into getting verified on whatever accounts are possible. A little blue checkmark next to a name might not seem like much, but it saves worry for your customers and allows them to be at ease when reading about what your company is offering or trying to convey.
What media sites you use, take a look at what you can do. Your company might not qualify for every website right away, but the effort will be worth it as your business expands.
Normal Information Technology Security Protocols
The basics are still the basics for a reason, and whatever other policies and tools your company is using will be useless if you don’t have a solid foundation to build off of when you are using social media. Chances are you have heard some of the following tips before, but take a look at the following to see if there is anything that needs immediate improvement:
- Is every computer and account secured with a password that is more than ten characters long, uses multiple types of characters and does not contain any dictionary words in it?
- Are there security suites or malware and virus protection software packages installed on every business computer? Are these programs renewed and kept up to date as well as possible?
- Are the operating systems of every computer your business uses updated as soon as possible? The patches provided often protect your from zero-day exploits and recently discovered threats that hackers just love to use.
- Is every employee trained in the basics of internet security and able to detect if something is not where it should be on a computer? Do they at least know enough to determine when to call the company expert?
Are there any other strategies or specific tips that you think might be helpful? Are there any interesting stories involved security that you want to share with your fellow readers? Leave a comment below and share with everyone else. Thank you for reading, and I hope that you implement the exact plan you need to get your business into hearts and minds quickly and safely.
About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a writer and blogger who specializes mostly in internet security. She has always found the intricacies of social media to be fascinating, and is excited to share her knowledge to keep individuals and companies safe from cybercriminals.