Published March 07th, 2017 by

Combatting Social Media Threats: Ways to Keep Your Business Data Safe & Secure

Every day, hundreds of thousands of new malicious files are created and make their way onto the Internet. While companies of all sizes take precautions to keep their systems safe and secure, there is one area of business that is often neglected – social media. Unfortunately, social media threats tend to be overlooked, even though these platforms are more important than ever when it comes to marketing and customer engagement. If you want to keep your business data safe and secure from social media threats, it is important to take action today.

Know Your Biggest Security Risks

In order to keep your business properly protected, it is important that you fully understand your online security risks. In any business, there are certain social media security risks that are more prominent than others:

  • Malware hacks and attacks. While some hacks come slowly, conducting small phishing efforts that will add up with time, large, targeted-attacks can have an immediate impact on your business. Malware attacks and hacks are some of the biggest threats to businesses.
  • Phishing and social attacks. Phishing scams will use social media to trick others into giving out personal information, including passwords and banking information. Phishing attempts are on the rise, and they can include fake profiles appearing to be those of your friends to false customer service accounts.
  • Malicious apps. Malicious software is becoming increasingly popular, including spyware. Malicious apps will steal sensitive and personal information without you knowing, so you need to make sure you share information or click on any hyperlinks.
  • Human error. Whether you unknowingly click onto a phishing link or accidently put sensitive information to a spammy online form, human error can lead to a host of problems. These types of problems most commonly occur when customers or employees accidently share personal information on a public forum.
  • Failure to consider social media. Many businesses understand the risks associated with viruses and hacking, but they fail to pay attention to their social media presence. If you don’t monitor your social media account, you could be vulnerable to a malicious attack that might spread to your followers. Additionally, if your followers start to receive spam messages from your account, they’ll lose confidence and trust in your business.

Develop a Company Social Media Policy

The first major step to boost your business social media security is to develop a company-wide policy. The right policy and procedures will protect your company, but make sure that all relevant parties are considered, including front-line employees, executives, IT, and other departments. The dos and don’ts of social media should be clearly outlined, including guidelines on how your business plans to enforce policy compliance. Guidelines about how to create a secure password, what should and should not be shared, and how to properly engage on behalf of your brand should be outlined.

Implement a Social Media Training Program

Sure, you can hand out your social media policy to your employees, but that doesn’t mean that they will comply with or even fully understand it. In order to best promote online business security when it comes to social media, it is important that you implement a company-wide social media training program. This will help to reinforce your social media policy so that all members of your team are on the same page.

Social media education is especially important when it comes to preventing problems that arise from human error. It is important to walk all your employees through exactly what they can – and cannot – share online. They should know how to use secure social media tools and how to identify unsafe social accounts and links so as to not compromise your system security.

It is also important that your employees know what to do in the event of a hack, attack, or another security breach. Crisis communications training should be a part of your education program. Make sure your staff knows what to do in the event of a PR disaster or system hack and how they can take action to minimize damage.

Restrict Your Company Social Media Access

It is important that you consider who has access to your business social media policies and that you restrict that access to only individuals that have received full training. Always keep track of who has access to what profiles or pages, and assign different access levels for specific channels. By limiting the number of people who have access to your business social media accounts, you will minimize the potential for social media threats against your brand.

Appoint a Social Media Lead Worker

Social media isn’t a casual activity. To keep up with all of your business social media accounts and profiles, you will likely need one person to dedicate all of his or her efforts. That person should be trained and educated in social media policies and best practices, and they should be committed to monitoring your brand’s online presence. Additionally, that person should be the knowledge expert for the rest of your staff, and their role should include overseeing security and training of other staff members.

Ensure Your Technology is Secured

While employee education and a company-wide policy are certainly essential to keep your business safe from attacks, wireless network security and technology are also major components to arm yourself against security threats. Antivirus software is crucial, as these programs will destroy viruses before they have the chance to compromise your system. They can also scan your system regularly to identify any potential threats.

There are other important steps to keep your system as secure as possible. Make sure that your employees use secure login information with strong passwords, and verify that you always use a secure social media management platform that will track all communications. Also, using an intrusion protection system like Snort can help to detect any suspicious activity on your network, ensuring that it is kept secure at all times.

Don’t wait until your system is compromised before you take social media security threats seriously. By developing the proper procedures and protocol today, you can keep your business data – and reputation – safe.


Shezagary has been a Project Strategist since 2009 and also involved in the launching of startups and tech companies in New York for over 5 years. She has keen interest in writing her own experiences about business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. She loves public speaking.

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