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How employee social media can put your company at risk

Whether accidental or intentional, employees’ online presence can affect the companies they work for. Businesses should understand social media security threats and how they can affect their brand image and reputation.

Facebook, Twitter and other platforms can be a boon or a bane depending on a company’s approach to social media and cybersecurity. Management should understand the benefits of healthy usage and how it can safeguard the business from employees’ risky online behavior.

5 Ways Social Media Pose Risks to Businesses

Whether accidental or intentional, employees’ online presence can affect the companies they work for. They are an extension of the organization and should be careful when posting or sharing content on social media. 

Businesses should understand social media security threats and how they can affect their brand image and reputation. 

Here are five ways employees put their companies at risk using social media.

1. Accidentally Posting Confidential Information

Sharing photos of work desks may seem innocent and harmless to some people. They might believe they can show their contacts how much they enjoy working for the company. While they see this as a way to promote themselves, it can have unwanted consequences.

Photos of workstations can accidentally include sensitive data like documents containing confidential information, schedules, or company credentials for different management systems and tools.

Cybercriminals often look for openings in an organization’s cybersecurity measures. This spells bad news for unsuspecting employees who frequently share photos on social media. If unchecked, this behavior can lead to cyberattacks and cause financial losses for the company.

2. Posting Inappropriate Content

People connect using social media in unprecedented ways. It’s a quick and easy method to communicate with friends and family worldwide. However, it can also be a platform to air grievances and promote gossiping and cyberbullying in the virtual world.

Employees with a penchant for showing risky behavior online will find themselves a target of criticism. What’s worse is they can be easily identified on social media with just a few clicks. As a result, their reckless behavior can reflect poorly on the company. 

While employees may use personal accounts when posting images, videos and other risky content online, this will still backfire on their employers and affiliated organizations.

3. Badmouthing Rival Companies

The appeal of social media as a free and open platform for personal expression is stronger than ever. People can go on their accounts to praise or criticize a personality or brand. Sometimes, they go on tirades and resort to mudslinging to bring others down.

Workers trying to promote their company by criticizing rivals reflects poorly on their employer. It’s a risky move, especially since people often have varying opinions on matters. While they may initially have good intentions, their acts can hurt the brand’s business and reputation.

4. Oversharing on Social Media

Too much time on social media can be a bad thing. It can distract workers from their tasks and affect their productivity and relationships with other employees. It can also give threat actors a chance to pull off crimes.

Posting credentials and personal details on social media can attract people with bad intentions. Exposed usernames, passwords and addresses can lead to fraud, phishing and malicious attacks from cybercriminals. Employees must think before they click, especially if they use their company devices for personal purposes.

5. Clicking Suspicious Links Using Company Devices

Phishing is an ever-present threat since hackers and malicious actors can access newly developed technologies. They can impersonate colleagues, infiltrate networks and keep companies out of their systems with various attacks.

Employees with little knowledge of cybersecurity measures are easy prey for hackers and cybercriminals. Workers’ lack of knowledge can sometimes lead to company losses and data breaches. Management should train people to spot suspicious emails and text messages to ensure their network’s safety.

How to Deal With Social Media Security Threats

Companies should understand how social media fits into their business and employees’ lives. Maintaining good online etiquette can benefit businesses and their workers. Here are some tips on ensuring organizations and employees use social media responsibly.

1. Create a Social Media Policy

Social media policies are a must-have for any company. It’s an organization’s first protection against questionable online behavior and risky content. A written plan will set expectations for employees and employers and protect everyone’s reputation.

Management should ensure every member of the organization reads and understands the policy. It’s easy to lose people’s trust on social media. Everyone must play their part to uphold their company’s brand values and reputation.

2. Limit Company Device Use to Business Purposes Only

Management must clarify to employees that company devices are for business use only. These items are intended for work, and people should avoid using them for social media. Similarly, organizations should be wary of workers using personal devices for business applications.

Separating personal and business devices is a good idea to avoid untoward incidents. Distracted workers can easily forget and use their company account to post questionable content online. It’s an avoidable scenario if organizations take precautions beforehand.

3. Train Employees in Cybersecurity Measures

Businesses should allocate a budget for cybersecurity training for all their employees. This simple step will safeguard company assets, worker information and other data. Everyone in the company should understand network security measures, including firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS) and network access control. They should know how to implement them, even at a basic level.

Bad actors will have a tougher time infiltrating company systems through employee accounts when people know how to spot threats. This is a necessary but easily overlooked part of doing business in the modern age.

4. Enable Two- or Multifactor Authentication

Hackers are everywhere, and they lurk even on social media platforms. Enabling multifactor authentication on accounts and devices offers added security for all members of an organization. Social media managers should implement this to prevent unauthorized access to company profiles and pages.

5. Monitor Social Media Accounts

Management should monitor employees’ social media to ensure compliance with company policies and spot risky behavior like cyberbullying or harassment. This way, businesses can address problems quickly before they get out of hand.

Management should also designate social media managers to oversee official platforms. Keeping an eye on accounts ensures user engagement and maintains brand integrity and reputation.

The Relationship Between Social Media and Cybersecurity

Employers and workers must understand the benefits and consequences of social media. While it can be an excellent way to promote business and engage with clients, it can also provide a backdoor to cybercriminals and negatively affect organizations. Having secure guidelines and policies can keep companies and employees from harm.

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