Updated: Feb 7
Social media has changed the way we live our lives. Studies show that 33% of shopping is inspired by social media, so are 23% of the cases of teenage suicide.
It's vital to recognise that the use of these platforms can carry risk, and with that understanding, as business owners or promoters, we must ask the hard questions. One of the hardest then must surely be, "is my business playing safe when it comes to social media?"
Besides questioning the physical and mental safety of social media use, even if a business gets the message right, it must consider protecting itself from a host of online threats, such as data breaches.
In fact, 93% of successful data breaches happen in under a minute. Despite this, 80% of businesses take weeks to discover them. - CNBC
Social media use is evolving from a leisure activity for many, to an absolute necessity for businesses that want to stay in the spotlight. However, if your account gets hacked, it will severely damage your reputation and your Personal Brand.
It's more critical than ever to keep your digital accounts and online information secure.
Unfortunately, posting on social media isn't without risks, and there are a few precautions users must take, to keep their information safe. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter track everything you do online. Even if you remove a tweet, post, comment or edit a hashtag, the internet keeps a copy.
Imagine for example being an elective surgeon, with a disgruntled ex receptionist. What damage could she do if she still had access to your twitter feed. The images of your great work may morph from happy patients with a new nose, to something far more damaging.
Today, Twitter alone has over 206 million monthly active users. It's a phenomenon that impacts both individuals and businesses.
Every week, one or another company reveals there’s been a data breach. The impact of the data breach extends far beyond the significant resources necessary to address it.
Data breaches can impact us all. Whether your facebook profile gets taken over by a bitter ex, or your company feed is ruined by a competitor or activist. They can attract media attention, resulting in unwanted public exposure, especially when individual personal data is breached. Data breaches will reduce a company's brand value. It can impact their stock performance and immediately result in a lower purchase price for an acquisition.
So, let's look at how you can tighten your security settings online.
Common security risks on social media
Even if you don't intend to use all social media networks immediately, it's a good idea to reserve your brand's identity on all of them. It allows you to maintain a consistent presence across networks, making it simple for others to find you.
Don't forget about the accounts you haven't used in a while, or don't use regularly. Hackers target unmonitored social accounts and can post false messages through them.
Hackers will send anything once they get control. Including misinformation that is harmful to your company. Virus-infected links could cause significant problems for followers, and you may not even realise it, until your consumers start turning to you for assistance, or worse.
Errors caused by humans
Everyone makes errors. It is all too easy for anyone to expose their business to online threats accidentally.
Something as easy as clicking on the incorrect link or downloading the wrong file can cause disaster. Some online challenges and quizzes become problematic as well. By completing them, you could cause a social media security breach.
Those "learn your celebrity name identity" and "10-year challenge" messages appear to be harmless entertainment. However, at times they offer scammers information that is used to breach passwords etc...
For many, the most catastrophic result of a data breach is financial loss. Depending on the type of breach, a variety of economic issues arise. Businesses that experience breaches have to deal with the costs of managing the breach, paying affected customers, realising a lower share value, and high-security costs.
According to studies, 29% of businesses that have had a data breach lose income. In fact, 38% of those businesses suffer a loss of 20% or more.
Damage to brand reputation
A security breach has far-reaching consequences that go beyond your short-term revenue. The long-term reputation of your brand is also at stake. In our digital world, news spreads quickly. Those who have never heard of your business could learn about your breach within a minutes. A data breach is disastrous for a business, especially if it's avoidable or puts customer data at risk. A loss of confidence, unfavourable news, and connected identity theft, harms your brand reputation and causes long-term difficulties.
According to studies, consumers are quick to turn their backs in the event of a data breach, with 65% of data breach victims claiming a loss of trust in a business due to the breach.
Furthermore, 85% will most likely inform others about their bad experience, with 33.4% using social media and 20% directly commenting on a website.- centrify.
Following a breach, it's critical to ensure your fallout is handled correctly with all eyes on you. Otherwise, you risk losing existing and potential consumers to competitors who are perceived to be more secure.
The effects of a data breach significantly impact business operations from the moment your data is compromised to the whole investigation and recovery process.
Depending on their severity, data breaches result in the total loss of vital data, requiring victims to spend extended periods recovering. The more the extended operations are shut down, the more likely consumers will quit, resulting in more financial loss.
Vulnerable third-party applications
It's a good idea to secure your social media accounts. However, hackers can still obtain access to encrypted social media through flaws in third-party applications.
Recently, we ourselves were hacked when our new Hootsuite account was breached and the hackers gained access to our social media, including our Twitter feed.
The resulting messages were devastating. The hackers promoted everything from porn sites to online gambling. Although we discovered the breach within minutes, dozens of these messages were already sent. Fortunately, given our interest in data protection and privacy, the damage was contained. Some, however, are not so vigilant, or so lucky.
Hackers recently gained access to the International Olympic Committee's Twitter account. They gained it via a third-party analytics tool. Football Club Barcelona was also the victim of a similar cyberattack. If hackers gain access to your social media accounts, they can cause enormous brand reputation damage.
Protect your passwords on social media to stay secure.
Did you know that over 55% of internet users use the same password for all sites?
Consider how simple it would be for someone to gain access to your Twitter, Gmail, and Facebook accounts by using the same password. This has an even more significant impact on small organisations with weak passwords and fewer cybersecurity processes in place.
Before you go any further, make a point of changing your online passwords. Do it now. No two should be the same.
The great news is, many operating systems enable the production of long and strong passwords. they will do it for you, and will remember them in their "key chain". You could also employ applications such as 1Password to create and store strong passwords across all of your devices.
You should further enhance your account's privacy by enabling two-factor authentication. This adds a step when you initially log in and helps prevent unauthorised users from gaining access to your account, even if they know your passwords.
The internet is a dangerous place, and social media is no exception. The best way to secure yourself online is to take time to protect your data and use security options given by various apps to control how and where you share information.
You should also monitor your social media accounts regularly, update passwords, and review any apps or plugins that have access to your account to ensure long-term security. The internet can be a safer place as long as you know the risks and take precautions to minimise them.
If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a data breach, YESpbm can stop the bleed. Get in touch now to help you protect your Brand's Reputation. We can get started with our free, confidential chat.
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