8 Ways to Keep Your Business Social Media Accounts Secure
Implementing measures to secure SMB social media accounts can be challenging for some business owners, but today it’s more necessary than ever to protect personal and sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands.
Social media plays a significant role in today’s businesses and is recognized as one of the key business functions in the twentieth century. In fact, according to a Sprout Social survey, 72% of corporate executives use social media input for making critical business decisions. Furthermore, a Deloitte report reveals that companies budget between 6% and 14% for security. Typically, company security budgets are allocated toward internal networks and business systems, but it also needs to include social media accounts.
A breach in account security can cause business disruptions and multiple problems if hackers post inappropriate content. So, protecting your business’s social media accounts is as important as protecting the security of your network systems.
Why and How Do Hackers Access Social Media Accounts?
A report by Google says that 20% of social accounts will be hacked at some point — question is why and how? Hackers often take control of company social accounts in order to distribute malware that steals sensitive information linked to those accounts, including passwords, social security numbers, mobile phone numbers, emails, and more. Once they get that information, cyber criminals use it for multiple purposes such as intellectual property theft, blackmailing, stealing money and selling data.
Cyber criminals can also create fake accounts that drive traffic to misleading web pages in order to sell knock-off products or steal sensitive information. Of course, this can cause severe branding and reputational damage to a business.
How to Prevent Social Media Hacks?
If you’re a small business the percentages are not in your favor, and the unfortunate truth is that one or more of social media platforms will likely be hacked at some point. But there are ways to minimize or prevent your business accounts from getting hacked. Here are eight steps to keep hackers away from your business social media accounts for a secure SMB:
1. Keep apps updated
When you see that “update now” notification on your apps, don’t ignore it. App creators launch new updates to fix bugs and improve the app’s security. It’s easy for hackers to break into accounts with outdated software because of the lower level of protection. App builders continuously update their code and release new versions as new threats arise. This is why it’s critical for businesses to ensure that social media apps are updated regularly.
2. Limit access
Having a social media account for your business doesn’t mean every employee should have access. Only trust your media team, or whoever is responsible for handling the accounts, with the passwords and other login credentials. When access is too broad it can lead to mismanagement and confusion making your account more vulnerable to hackers. Limiting the social media responsibility to just a few members ensures better security from outside attacks.
3. Use strong passwords and 2FA
When you create a social media account, it’s essential to keep your login info as secure and strong as possible. During the sign-up process, make sure you pick a complicated password that’s difficult for hackers to replicate. Secure SMBs use strong passwords that include more than 15 characters and a mixture of upper and lower letters, symbols, and numbers. After establishing your account, make sure that you turn on the two-factor authentication for your account. This helps give your business social media account an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals.
4. Never log in with a link
Always be cautious of unknown links and invitations on social media. Sending fake links that lure people into giving out their login information is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Never login to your accounts using a link somebody sent you, which can contain malware that steals information. Sometimes malware can even be disguised in the form of a fun personality quiz or a short survey about your business. Whatever the case, stay vigilant and don’t accidentally give away login information.
5. Keep personal accounts separate when possible
When you create a social media account for your business, don’t use your personal email account. Always keep your business accounts separated from your personal accounts. We tend to be careless with our personal accounts, making a security breach more likely. Social media business accounts, such as Facebook Business Pages, may need to be managed by a personal account. Careful attention is necessary when working between the two accounts.
6. Delete unused accounts for a secure SMB
If you have old social media accounts that you no longer use, delete them as soon as possible. Your inactive accounts can still give away plenty of personal and sensitive information to hackers who may be able to use them to hack into your active accounts. Make sure you remove your personal data from your old accounts and disable or delete them before moving to new ones.
7. Secure your business network
Keeping your business network well protected is one practice that ensures your accounts remain safe. Always use and update antivirus software for your internet connection and computer devices. One of the many ways to keep your network secure is changing the default admin name and login. Be sure to choose a tricky password for your network and set up a VPN.
8. Use private Wi-Fi
If you want to avoid becoming a victim of a cyber attack, invest in a private Wi-Fi network for your business. The dangers of logging into your social media accounts using a public internet network are too many to list, and the worst part? Most people are unaware of how dangerous public networks can be. Make sure to always check your business social media accounts with a private Wi-Fi and take a portable Wi-Fi hotspot with you when you’re on the go.