Our lives are now an open book. It seems weird to even use the expression "personal lives," as so much of what we do is aimed at reaching others. Social media has drastically changed the way we interact. Every status updated, picture posted or video shared is a way to show off our lives to those around us. And while it offers many advantages in terms of networking, information sharing and overall communication, it comes with serious side-effects, like security threats. If we aren't careful, we could divulge sensitive company information. Also, social sites are one of the most common avenues for malware infiltrations, which create widespread damage.
Here are five simple tips that'll not only help protect your employees and network security, but the overall reputation of your business.
Institute Social Media Policies
One of the most effective means of improving security and regulating how employees access social media, is by instituting policies outlining best practices, guidelines and expectations for appropriate social media behaviour. This can cover things like what platforms employees can access at work, or how they should be posting. Employees represent their companies 24/7 and so anything they say can reflect on the organization. As a result, they need to watch their language and the content they share, especially on personal pages where employer information is public.
Train IT Personnel
Unfortunately, IT professionals are often so busy fixing computer crashes and managing tech support that they have little time to worry about network security issues. Don't let that happen. Make sure security is a priority, and that personnel are trained on the latest threats and how to protect systems. Social media definitely needs to be included in this training. There are so many popular social platforms people access everyday: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now even Snapchat. Help IT understand how to protect sites the company is using, and how to ensure threats don't make their way into the business through employee pages.
Set Strict Privacy Settings
Most social media sites come with privacy settings, but are often inactive until specifically activated. Make sure your employees know how to set the maximum privacy settings, as default settings leave you wide open for attacks. These settings can also be a means of protecting company and brand reputation, as you can manipulate who sees what content.
Create Strong Passwords
The importance of creating strong passwords cannot be overemphasized. It may sound trivial, but good passwords can stop all kinds of problems. We hear all the time of twitter accounts that have been hacked, and attackers debasing the reputation of brands by spamming and posting all kinds of inappropriate links and comments. Many of these attacks stem from poor passwords. Don't make your company name your password. Also, make sure that all your social sites have different passwords, or else once one site is compromised, the others will follow suit.
Don't Eliminate Social Media Access
One decision that can leave companies completely vulnerable is eliminating social network access altogether. You might think by disallowing and blocking social sites you'll protect your company from attacks via social sites. You'd be wrong. People are so intent on being on social media that they'll find a way to access it on their own, whether from their own devices or other means. These channels bypass a company's protected channels, and aren't secure.
Allowing access doesn't mean you have to grant permission to every social site. There are many social sites less secure than others. Help your employees not only understand which sites are disallowed, but why. If employees understand the reasoning, they are far more likely to follow proper guidelines. Social media offers incredible business opportunities for your business, such as research, customer service or more targeted marketing approaches. It's definitely a tool you'll want to have, and want your employees familiar with. Having said that, it needs to be overseen with proper policies and controls to ensure information and reputation are secured.