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How Businesses Should Deal with Social Media Risks

The value of social media cannot be explained enough. It breaks down geographic and cultural borders. It allows people to connect in a way that is more-or-less meaningful. It provides new opportunities for businesses to flourish.

There are few doubts that social media, at its core, is a good thing. Yet, is not without risks. Reputation risks are a dangerous issue for any company that runs a social media page. However, these risks go further than posting a poorly crafted message. Social media is full of opportunists who hide behind fake profiles in an attempt to hack people and companies.

If you have a website or an online payment platform, you have performed a risk assessment on your cyber security systems. This is imperative anytime customers trust you with personal or sensitive details. What many businesses do not realize is that you need to be careful of risks on your social media pages as well.

Evaluating Possible RisksSocial media risks

Most people have learned how to spot dangerous emails by now. For the trained eye, these spam emails stand out immediately. This gets more complicated on social media. It is a lot harder to spot a bot on Facebook than it is in you Gmail junk mail box.

To help combat, this, you need to evaluate all potential risks for your social media pages. Social media may feel harmless but one in five phishing attempts now come from Facebook.

You will need to consider how big of a liability it is to have employees accessing social media on company property. Because the risks are so subtle, it can be hard to protect the company’s assets from both direct attacks from the outside and from accidental losses. Some of the biggest risks that come from working on social media include:

·         Reputation damage

·         Accidental disclosure of confidential information

·         Identity theft

·         Violating laws and regulations

To start, you should be looking to see what employees are saying about their jobs online. If employees are tweeting or posting information in the public sphere, you may need to create a social media policy that addresses this liability to your security systems. This is the best way to protect your company and your employees.

You also need to consider your reputation management plan. Reputation management sounds more like negating bad publicity. However, there can be legal implications if someone on the social media team posts the wrong thing. Protecting your company and its assets from any misguided or accidental posts is imperative.

Embracing Work/Life Separation

You need to embrace social media because not doing so will only hurt you. To protect your business, it is also important to create a plan that separates social media from the private work sphere. Social media is best kept only in the public, personal sphere.

For example, you might run an education seminar for employees about the impact that even innocent posts can have the company. You avoid imposing a top-down social media ban. It is better that employees have all the information they need to be good posting decisions for themselves.Social media training

This social media training should be given not just to the social media and marketing team but to all employees.

This training can be particularly important in the business communication context. Young employees in particular are familiar with collaborating over text-based services like Facebook. Encouraging a switch back to a safe platform like email can be a good way to prevent sensitive information from being hacked.

Tools like Slack and Hipchat are also good solutions for workplace communication. These tools reduce the number of emails people must attend to and keep all conversations in one place.

Another solution is to physically separate the company from social media. Creating a second network for employees to use social media helps keep attackers away from the private company network.

You can also encourage employees to connect to this public network with personal devices. You should avoid putting any devices registered to the company on this network.

When protecting your reputation online, you should create a chain of approval to review potential social media posts.

This chain should not be long and it should not hinder productivity. It should also not take away from a culture of trust. It should not be treated as a hierarchy. Instead, it should work more as a peer reviewing system to make sure that you are getting the most out of each post. This is safer than turning over the keys to the company’s Facebook page only to one person.

Social media is a big asset but it can also be a big liability. When it comes to working in the online sphere, every company should be sure have a plan to protect themselves from outside threats and internal accidents.

Images via Shutterstock

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