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Best practice: Secure your organisation’s social media presence

As people put more and more of their professional and personal lives on social media, it’s high time to make security a priority, and particularly so if you run a business.

Steadily increasing rates of malicious campaigns and viruses by hackers designed to infiltrate your website and business systems are only one aspect. Threats can also inadvertently come from staff chatting to friends online about your business or intentionally from disgruntled employees who may post hostile comments, with dire consequences for your business reputation.

Even if you’re not using social media in your business, your employees almost certainly are. This can present a risk if they’re talking about anything work-related with friends or if they access their social media accounts through your computers.

Whether you’re primarily focused on using social networks for personal reasons or you have a professional business presence on them, you need to dot your i’s and cross your t’s regarding security. A frequently reviewed set of policies and procedures is the best defense.

AVG’s best practice tips for a secure social media presence are:

  • Create a policy and procedures document on social media activity within your business and make sure all your staff are familiar with it.
  • Ensure that you and your employees use different passwords for each social media account. Since networks like Facebook and Twitter are highly popular, they’ll be the most targeted. Don’t use the same password for your Facebook account as you do for Gmail. Once hackers get their hands on your email, they’ll go after your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and vice versa.
  • When opening a link from any social network, make sure that everyone looks twice at the URL in the address bar, especially if the link leads to a login page. Some hackers deceive you into thinking that you’re in (for example) a Facebook login page but when you log in, the login information is sent to the hacker. This immediately compromises any account. If one of your employees is an administrator of your social pages (such as a business page on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter), this will likely harm the presence you have there.
  • Ensure that everyone is using HTTPS to connect to Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, click the gear icon on the top right corner, click ‘Account settings’ and then go to ‘Security’. There, you can enable secure browsing. Twitter should have HTTPS enabled by default.
  • Advise employees to choose their friends wisely. They should not accept friend requests from people who they do not know or trust. It is paramount for people with the most access to your company’s data to practice this.
  • Encourage employees to disable every feature of Facebook, and then open each one as they need it. There are some unnecessary things enabled by default which can lead to vulnerabilities in your account that you should opt out of.
  • Hold regular workshops with employees (preferably with assistance from a tech professional), to educate them on the latest security practices and what dangers they may face on a day-to-day basis. Let them know what they can and cannot share about the work they do with you.

We suggest you apply these tips to every social network you use. Preserve your corporate reputation by tightening up your security.

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Michael McKinnon

Michael McKinnon

Michael McKinnon is Security Advisor at AVG Technologies AU. He is passionate about security and new and emerging technologies and fights on the 'front line' in the war against cyber-crime. He is committed to educating and empowering audiences to stay safe online, whether it be at home or in the office - no matter how tech-savvy they may be!

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