Today, businesses and Websites depend on Social Media to drive massive traffic and to achieve a higher exposure in the market. It is evident that a practical and strategic social media approach is crucial for any online businesses as the power of Social Media is undeniable in today’s marketing world.Every enterprise and website use Social media platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to communicate and engage with their customers. For that reason, integrating social media platforms with businesses and websites is crucial in this technology-driven world.
Social Media creates excellent business opportunities, but the risk is even higher.Social media for websites/ business is not merely liking, voting, sharing, etc.….it has much more to do. Isn’t it? On the process of engaging with customers and creating a brand name, what does social media do? Is Social Media always positive and beneficial for customers?? No, Not at all! The latest Facebook controversy regarding the use of information gathered from Facebook profiles by Cambridge Analytica is a warning sign for all social media users too. Have you ever thought of the security threats involved in integrating social media channels with Businesses/Websites? If not, it is high time for you as a social media user to consider the cons of the same. Let us get into it;
There are many security threats a website face during social media integration. Here, We have listed, five main security threats when integrating social media platforms with businesses.
1. Human error
The human errors like accidental tweets, unknown clicks, etc. are some of the unimaginable security threats to websites or companies. Many times it was reported that an unexpected click on a malicious link,a conversation with a fake social media account, or mistakenly filled spammy profile had put the reputation of the brand identity, finance, etc. on a stake. Any digital mistake that seems to be simple can result in a colossal loss hence companies have to be cautious about human error.
2. Lack of personal attention on social media
If you don’t keep a track on your social media presence, then it can lead to Unimagined consequences. If you leave your online store’s account unmonitored, then the chances for an attack by a malicious virus, is doubled. Unmonitored accounts are more prone to malicious activities, and they may generate spam messages to your followers which questions your brand’s integrity and trustworthiness, social media attention is something that is must for every online store.
3. Malicious software attacks
Reports from 2016 state that on an everyday basis, over 4000 malicious software attacks occurred. These attacks including virus, spyware, trojan, ransomware, etc. could harm the system entirely. These types of attacks are something every online store owner should be aware of, and they should find ways not to fall for it because the risk they can cause is unbelievable.
4. Lack of Privacy and phishing scams
Social media acquire personal data of profiles and share it with different users, without the consent and knowledge of the profile owner. Apart from that, the Phishing scams in Social Media platforms trick people to provide personal information including bank details, passwords, etc..
A “phishing” e-mail is one that pretends to be from a bank or a company such as eBay or Amazon.com. The e-mail asks you to login to your account and verifies your account details, often claiming that suspicious activity has been observed on your account or that security upgrades have recently been implemented. A web link for this purpose is usually included in the e-mail. Clicking on the link takes you to a counterfeit web site that looks very similar to the legitimate one.
Unsuspecting victims are tricked into thinking they are logging in to the real website. By hijacking well-known corporate brands, which individuals are inclined to trust, phishers obtain credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and Social Insurance Numbers.
This gives the fraudsters enough information to gain access to your accounts or commit other crimes using your identity.
E.g., Facebook “fake friend” phishing scam.
5. Privacy settings
Lack of strict privacy settings can make business websites, and personal profiles fall for hacking. E.g., Burger King, Mcdonalds, etc
Without doubt we can say that social media is vital for marketing and customer engagement, but how about these risks?
It is an open secret that social media use personal data of users to make their marketers job easiest. It is known that brands should educate themselves the risks of social media integration and then should take necessary steps to safeguard them from these risks.Business WebSites use many softwares, and the vulnerabilities with each software component vary from one over the other, and these can result in many threats for enterprises! Online sites face risks ranging from proprietary exposure to lawsuit invitation. What has to be done to tackle this?.Should businesses pull away from Social Media? Never! Because Communication and regular conversations are essential to build a brand name. Risking important stakeholders interactions and the opportunity to create a market space in social media is not the solution. Every Website for business has to use social media platforms to communicate with their customers across the globe. But at the same time companies should keep all these risks in mind, and should come up with a systematic approach that can shield their brand from any troubles.
Now we know the threats an enterprise can expect, so let us ponder on how to avoid these security threats that can happen during social media integration? Is it possible? Of course, it is! But how? It is simple too.Websites and businesses only have to follow certain tips to safeguard themselves from these threats.
Tips to protect your firm from security threats;
1. Follow a Social media policy
For every online store, social media policy which act as social media guide for employees is a must. This corporate code helps individuals to know what they can share to the world digitally. Most times, even the experienced employees may not be aware about the rules and consequences in sharing the firm’s information publically. A social media policy will help them to be aware of the risk involved in sharing sensitive information to the external world. This helps people to be cautious when they make brand related communication in the digital world and it also helps the store to be away from negative publicity .
2. Provide Social media training for Employee
Training sessions on Social Media Policy have to be arranged for employees, and the company must make sure that every employee has understood the policy in a better way. Employees awareness on social media policy will save the company from financial, legal or any other sort of issues that can pop-up anytime.When you train your employees, you are in fact making them capable of taking the best decisions at the right time keeping the reputation of the company in mind. When you implement a policy and provide training, you are not chaining them; rather you are guiding them on how to utilize every single opportunity of social media, without getting into any sort of trouble.
3. Limit social media access for employees
Restricting social media usage is beneficial in different ways. This not only save work time but also helps to prevent the spread of spyware and viruses too. Closely monitoring or restricting social media is useful in many ways including the maximum usage of employee productivity, reduce the risk of malicious software attack, safety from online theft, etc. … When considering all these factors it is advisable to limit the social media access for employees.
4. Appoint a Social Media In-charge
Appointing a social media in charge is always wise when you run an online store. The social media manager will be responsible for the brand’s online image. The manager will monitor and evaluate the contents before sharing it online, maintains a positive relationship with clients, and creates social media strategies to tackle threats if any. A community manager will be well-versed with the store’s online presence and ensure social media presence is effective.
5. Invest in secure technology (Safeguard your passwords
One social platform to rule them all, Scan for threats)
Every online store will have multiple social media accounts and managing each account separately is not advisable because that is when they are more prone to security threats. To avoid these uninvited guests, it is always better to depend on password management tools, usage of a single platform (e.g., HootSuite) and regular scans to find out threats which include scams, malware,brand impersonations, fraud, viruses, and any other form of cyber attack.
6. Regularly Monitor Social Media channels
Chances are there that every online or offline store will fall prey to threats or security issues at least once. To resolve or avoid these issues, you must be aware of the problems that are going around, and it is not that easy. You should know what you have to look for and to identify the issues immediately; you can choose different monitoring tools like Google Alerts, Twitter Advanced Search, HootSuite, etc.. When you use these tools, from a particular dashboard, you can look into and track the troubles you face in the digital world. With the help of these tools, you can plan and execute a social media strategy immediately.
7. Carry out Social Media Audits regularly (Network privacy settings, Access, and publishing privileges, Recent security threats)
Up to date Social Media Security measures are essential for every online store and for that reason it is wise to carry out regular audits on social media platforms. These reviews will help you to know that no potential security threats have occurred recently. Also, to be up to date, you should Often check the Network privacy settings, carry out regular scans to find out security threats, and also should keep a track on who all access social media platforms.
Social Media is full of opportunities, and as a business, when you use all the opportunities it provides, you must also be capable to safeguard yourselves from every single threat it can create!