Social Media and Security: 5 Necessary Tools
Social media has become one of the most valuable tools for marketing, especially for small businesses that don’t have a large marketing budget. While using social media can certainly help you get ahead and compete with larger companies, it does have its drawbacks. Few social media sites truly provide the security you need. This can leave you open to hackers and other attacks, and these attacks can reach beyond your social media sites and into your secure data. Securing social media has to become one of the top priorities. Unfortunately, many businesses haven’t even realized the danger these sites can pose. If you’re using social media at all, you need to make sure you’re using these four tools to protect your business.
1. Use Intrusion Detection Software
Many people know about intrusion detection software for networks and computers, but did you know they’re also available for mobile devices? Many people use their smartphones and tablets to post on social media. Some apps like Instagram can only publish posts on mobile devices. By adding an app that watches for suspicious activity and alerts you when someone accesses one of your accounts, you’ll be able to better protect your business. All employees who post to social media from a mobile device should have one of these apps.
Some of these apps, such as LogDog, do more than just social media. This app will monitor your Gmail email account and Dropbox as well and provide you with real time protection in the event of a hack.
2. Use a Password Manager
How many of your employees can’t remember the passwords to your social media accounts? You may be tempted to make the password something easy to remember just so you don’t have to keep reminding people what it is. Unfortunately, doing that leaves you open for hackers since easy to remember passwords are also easy to hack.
Once hacked, you never know what someone will post about your company. Saying you were hacked may undo some of the harm or confusion over strange posts, but it’s a double-edged sword. People may be more wary of doing business with you if you can’t even keep your Facebook secure. They might even doubt your ability to employ adequate cloud protection to keep their private financial information secure.
Tools such as 1Password and LastPass store and encrypt passwords, making them incredibly difficult to hack. These tools then supply the password when needed. You don’t even have to type anything in. You can even use one of these tools to randomly create a password that uses numbers, symbols and letters.
3. Limit Access
How many employees have access to your social media? The answer may be more than you’d like. One thing you can do to limit this access is to use a tool that lets one person access and manage all of your social media. Apps such as SproutSocial and Hootsuite make it easy to access accounts, schedule posts, reply to posts, and do other activities. This way, you can give one person access to everything. No one even needs to know what the individual account information is.
By limiting access, you have a much better idea of who knows what account logins. You don’t want someone who has left the company on bad terms getting into your social media. By using an account manager, you’ll be able to better know when passwords need to be changed.
Some social media sites have their own tools for helping you keep your account secure. Facebook, for example, has login approval tools that you can use to control who has access to your social media account on that site. It requires page managers to enter a security code whenever they log into the business page on an unrecognized device.
4. Check Your Account Privacy Settings
Every social media site has its own privacy settings. While it may be a pain to learn each one and make sure they’re all configured as they should be, it’s something you need to do. You also have to check regularly to make sure these settings haven’t changed or that the site hasn’t had some kind of glitch and resets your profile. It happens more often than you might expect.
These settings determine who can see what you post, who can message you, and who has administrative rights to your page. You want to make sure your business isn’t being tagged in things you’d rather not have connected to your business. You can change your privacy settings to require you to approve everything you’re tagged in.
Sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram all handle privacy settings differently. You’ll have to read through their settings and make sure you adequately protect all of your profiles.
5. Use Security and Antivirus Software
Finally, you need to make certain you’re using security and antivirus apps to protect all of your computers and mobile devices. Malware, viruses, and spyware can all slip through even the strongest firewalls. If you don’t have any type of security programs there, you may never know if one of these malicious programs is damaging your system. An open source antivirus software offers protection from all of these programs.
You do have to make certain that you always keep your antivirus programs updated, though. If you don’t, it’s likely that new malwares will infect your system without being recognized.
You also need to make sure that your employees know how to identify hacking and phishing threats in email and on social media. Someone may leave a comment or even message your business page with a link to a page that tries to infect your system with a virus. You need to instruct all employees in safe email and social media usage, even those who don’t work on your social media page.
Remember that security and online protection is an ever-changing field. While these tools are useful now, things may change in the future. Always keep up-to-date with the best practices in social media security and implement anything new that can help protect you.