Social media is unavoidable these days. Practically everyone between the ages of 13 and 83 has a Facebook account, job seekers and corporate recruiters alike have made LinkedIn an indispensable tool in the hiring process, and Twitter is vital to many organizations' marketing and consumer outreach strategies. But social networking security issues can throw a wrench into any business's operations, and social networking security issues are more common (and dangerous) than many business leaders realize. Here are three ways to protect your organization from the consequences of careless social media use.
1. Teach your employees not to fall for scams and social engineering
Social engineering is one of the biggest social networking security issues. In social engineering, hackers or scammers typically target specific users at an organization and use friend requests from fake profiles to gain the users' trust. Once that trust is gained, the targets may be tricked into revealing sensitive information or granting the scammers certain access privileges or corporate perks. Targets may also be led to click on malicious links or to download malicious software, which hackers can then use to infiltrate corporate systems, leading to data breaches and other disasters.
To prevent this from happening, end user education in the form of training sessions, seminars, and periodic reminders should be used to teach employees how to spot fake profiles and how to avoid being taken in by scammers. In many cases, common sense is all it takes—don't accept friend requests from people you haven't met in person, for example—but organizations cannot assume that all their employees are on the same page when it comes to Internet common sense.
2. Protect employee devices from malware and viruses
Malicious software is another of the more common social networking security issues that corporations must address. The Internet is full of malware and viruses just waiting for a host, with new attacks and exploits being developed and released nearly every day. All it takes is one careless click for an employee device to become compromised, and some attacks, if not caught and quarantined, can open up or bring down entire corporate networks.
Robust, up-to-date antivirus and malware protection is an organization's first line of defense against the social networking security issues caused by malicious software. What's challenging for many organizations, especially BYOD organizations, is making sure that that software is installed, active, correctly configured, and punctually updated on every device. Failing to update when updates are available can leave systems open to new exploits. Mobile Device Management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions can help by making it easy for IT to remotely provision, configure, and update all devices as needed.
3. Protect corporate data on personal devices
Unfortunately, no end user is infallible, and neither are any endpoint security software solutions. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, often developing attacks too far ahead of the curve for security companies to catch up in time, and that means that no organization can ever consider itself immune to social networking security issues.
In the event that an employee or employee device is compromised, mechanisms should be in place to protect corporate data on employee devices. Many EMM solutions now offer productivity and file sync and share apps designed with enterprise-grade security and protected on devices with container technology that isolates sensitive corporate data from other apps on the same device. Using secure productivity and data storage solutions, in conjunction with DLP software that prevents sensitive data from being improperly leaked or shared, can help address otherwise unavoidable social media security issues.
Social media security issues are very real and very hazardous for the enterprise, but they are not insurmountable obstacles. The combination of end user education and the latest in enterprise mobile security and management technology will go a long way towards keeping corporate data safe while allowing employees to network and build the brand in our brave new connected world.
What social media security issues are you seeing, and how do you address them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.