When it comes to data protection and account security, many companies focus on keeping proprietary company information and sensitive details about customers and employees safe. But as businesses take their branding efforts to social media, it’s becoming clear that these protection and security protocols should be extended to this burgeoning digital asset as well.
Just as social media allows you to effortlessly create a positive image for your brand online, it can also ruin your reputation just as quickly if your accounts are compromised.
You don’t have to look far and wide to see examples of social media hacking incidents. News organizations are a common target and so are major brands, including Burger King, JEEP and PayPal. While most of the companies that were targeted were able to contain the breach swiftly, it’s disconcerting to see how damaging these attacks can be.
With news of high profile hacking dominating the headlines, it’s easy to think that social media isn’t worth the time and trouble. Should your business ditch social media altogether? Unless you want your competition to have your customers’ undivided attention online, quitting social media isn’t really an option in today’s competitive market.
But how exactly do you keep your social media accounts safe? Here are practical tips that will help you protect your branded Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages from social media outlaws.
Use strong and unique passwords
Account security begins with your password. A strong password is typically at least 8 characters long, includes lowercase and uppercase letters, a number and a symbol. It’s also important that you use different passwords for each social media account, and never reuse old passwords.
Keep your social media account passwords hidden
If you’re like most businesses, you probably have several people sending out messages from the company’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. Consider using a password management solution to shield your password from unnecessary exposure. Password managers let you share account passwords securely with your team members without actually revealing the passwords to them.
Create a dedicated email account for your company's social media accounts
When signing up for social media accounts, create a new email for each website or service and don’t use that email account for anything else. The idea is to isolate the email address associated with your social media accounts from the email accounts that are known to the public, making it doubly hard to guess your login details. Also, be sure to monitor the email accounts that you use for signing up on social media websites, since most security notifications are sent there first.
Take advantage of built-in security options
Most social networking websites have security features that help keep your account safe. Facebook, for example, lets you connect to the service via a secure https connection. They also have a login notification service that alerts you whenever someone signs in to Facebook using your account. Twitter has a similar login verification service that notifies you via text message if someone signs in to Twitter using your account.
Think before you click
Malicious and spammy links are also being shared on social media. So be careful when clicking on links, especially when they are masked with URL shorteners such as bit.ly, goo.gl and TinyURL, as they could lead to your company accounts getting hijacked. If you really need to access links shared via email or social media, a good approach is to use URL unshorteners such as unshort.me to see where the masked URLs really point to before opening them.
Limit access to your social media accounts - especially on mobile devices
For some companies, posting social media updates using mobile devices from the field is a necessity. But being logged in on a mobile device poses serious risks, since smartphones and tablets can be misplaced or stolen. A way to address this is to enable the "remote wipe" feature of the smartphones or tablets used in the field so access can be revoked quickly in case they get lost. Adding a PIN or password to the devices that have posting access to the company’s social media accounts will also add a layer of security to your devices and accounts.
Install and regularly update your Internet security suites
To reduce the number of ways a hacker can get to your social media accounts, limit the number of computers and devices that have access to your social media accounts, and be sure they are protected with adequate security like updated anti-malware and anti-phishing applications.
For more practical business security tips, explore our Learning Center today.
For your ID and physical security needs, talk to our ID professionals at 1-800-667-1772. Calls are toll-free. You can also contact us via email.
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