Social media best practices to ensure online security

July 14th, 2021
Social media best practices to ensure online security

Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide businesses with platforms that are easily visible and accessible to their target audience. This benefit, coupled with the sites’ built-in analytics tools, makes social media an indispensable marketing and customer relations tool today. But while social media can help your business grow, reach a wider audience, and promote your brand, they can also open doors to data breaches.

For instance, an employee may unwittingly post work-related information such as their company ID or their computer screen on a social networking service (SNS). This could then allow malicious actors to customize phishing scams directed at that employee, leading to a successful social engineering attack. Making such social media security mishaps is akin to handing cybercriminals a key that would allow them to access your network or systems.

Follow these best practices to keep your Florida business safe from social media-based risks.

Create a social media policy

It’s critical to provide your employees with guidelines on how to use social media responsibly. This will not only help safeguard your data against security threats, but it can also save you from bad PR or legal trouble.

To be effective, your social media policy must include the following:

  • Brand guidelines that explain how employees should talk about your company on SNS
  • Rules on confidentiality and personal social media use, such as which personal and work-related information employees can share publicly
  • Third-party apps to avoid, such as Facebook quizzes that require one to divulge personal information
  • Clear assignment of accountability and responsibility for each social media account
  • Guidelines for keeping software and devices updated
  • Rules regarding passwords, such as how often to change passwords or how to set a strong one
  • Who to notify when a social media security issue arises

By having an official document on social media do’s and don'ts, your employees can conduct themselves in a professional manner online while minimizing security risks to your business.

Train your staff

In some cases, having a social media policy is not enough to keep your staff vigilant. That's because for some employees, it's easy to forget about a document that they read once, especially if they don’t encounter any social media risks firsthand.

To help them retain information, regularly send reminders about social media best practices and let them experience real-life examples of social media-based security risks. After training your staff on the common social media schemes cybercriminals use to bait unsuspecting users, you can conduct simulation exercises to test your employees’ preparedness for security breach attempts. For example, an activity that requires them to identify which pictures are okay to share on SNS can teach your staff to watch out for information that can be used for fraud, such as birth dates or Social Security numbers.

Don’t recycle passwords

According to a Google study, about 65% of users recycle their passwords for either several or all of their accounts. This poses a considerable risk, as 80% of hacking-related breaches are linked to lost or reused passwords.

Keep your social media accounts safe by using a unique password for each account. It’s also a good idea to use a password manager that can generate and store strong password combinations while removing the burden of having to memorize each one.

To avoid recycling passwords, you can also implement passwordless authentication, which allows you to log in to your accounts without having to enter passwords. For instance, instead of a password, you will be asked to input a one-time code sent to a registered email address or phone number. Biometric authentication, such as a fingerprint or a face scan, is another way to get into your account without using passwords.

Related reading: Why your business should consider passwordless solutions

Secure idle accounts

Reserving your brand’s handle across all social media channels is a good way to keep a consistent presence online and make it easier for customers to find you. But sometimes, a company may lack resources to handle multiple accounts, or it may find that some platforms are not fit for its image or message. Be wary when you have unattended social media accounts, as cybercriminals are known to exploit these.

To prevent security compromise, routinely log in to all of your accounts and update your information and privacy settings. You should also do this for accounts that you don’t plan on using or no longer use. Hackers can gain control of idle accounts and post inappropriate content, send malware-infected links to your followers, or initiate fraudulent transactions under your name. By regularly signing in your accounts using the same devices, you solidify your ownership of the account and make it difficult for malicious actors to take over.

Just like any IT tool or solution, social media can help you achieve your goals only if it’s managed effectively. HERO Managed Services is here to ensure that your technology becomes an invaluable investment. Call us at (727) 291-9461 or drop us a line for a FREE IT consultation.


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