How Safe Is Social Media?

09 May, 2017
By G-Team in Technology
Gpayroll payroll software blog - social media
With the slew of social media platforms the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, businesses are fast catching on the trend of using these social media platforms to reach out to a wider audience. After all, with the social-media savvy Millennials and Generation Z, perhaps the most effective way to build up the business brand is by using such platforms to communicate, engage and connect with these media-savvy customers.
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However, like all activities that transpire on the Internet, using social media comes with its risks. As businesses grow and maintain several social media accounts, security becomes increasingly difficult to control. Data often travels unprotected through social media channels. Moreover, considering how much people tend to share on their social media accounts, certain sensitive data could be leaked unintentionally. These potential threats to security could in turn implicate the businesses as confidential information is compromised such as payroll records or employees' personal information.

While some of these security threats are yet to be fully appreciated by businesses, here are 3 very real social media risks that your business could face.

Malicious mobile apps
There is no denying that the proliferation of mobile devices and wearable technology has propagated the use of social media. Smartphones and other mobile gadgets are rapidly being adopted for business use. And since employees are already adept in using these mobile devices, they think nothing of downloading several apps even on corporate phones and tablets.

However, some of these applications comes with malicious software that is designed to hack into the employee's mobile devices such as retrieving the user's personal information or stealing company's data that might be stored in the mobile device. Thus, businesses that allow the usage of mobile devices should place restrictions on the type of applications that employees can download so as to prevent any malware from compromising on sensitive company data.

Employees' tweets and posts
Social media allows employees to connect with the masses by sharing an online website on Facebook or tweeting a business related comment via Twitter. Believe it or not, a seemingly innocuous post can provide outsiders enough information to cause some serious damage to your business, even more so for cyber criminals.

The spontaneity of social media can cause employees to act impulsively by posting improper comments about the company, co-workers to even customers. Furthermore, such comments cannot be taken back and could result in backlashes and rifts between companies and clients, in turn affecting the company brand. Therefore, it is imperative to educate employees on the proper use of social media for businesses purposes, both during and off office hours.

A non-existent social media policy
Companies that permit their employees to use social media platforms for business purposes without first implementing a robust social media policy do so at their own peril. A comprehensive social media policy should detail who within the organisation is authorized to use social media as well as specific guidelines on using it properly. While the primary purpose of social media is no doubt to communicate, engage and build up the company's brand, every aspect of the business' social media initiative should be careful outlined and not up to an employee's individual interpretation.

The usage of social media for business purposes will no doubt reap numerous benefits for the company's branding. However, a lack of social media policy could very well jeopardise the company's data security. While there is no foolproof solution to stop social media breaches, companies should still take social media security very seriously to reduce the risk of data leaks via social platforms.