Most small business owners are aware of cybercrime, hacking and the dangers of ransomware, but have you ever considered that social media might be a problem?
It’s fair to say that social media has a positive impact on many small businesses, virtually transforming the way they communicate with their target audiences. In fact, businesses with a large social media following can significantly boost their sales and revenue very quickly. So how can social media have a negative impact on your business?
Negative impacts from social media
Social media can act as a gateway for cyber criminals, providing them with avenues to exploit your business by installing malware through social media platforms. Accessing platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, cyber criminals can steal user accounts, contacts, locations, business activities and even login details.
Under the guise of a social media platform, hackers can also request users to change their passwords and then steal these login details as well, causing further damage. In fact, in 2019, a UK report stated that social media platforms are being used as trojan horses by hackers to reach millions of users with very little effort. These platforms enable the spread of malware distributed via advertisements, plugins and apps, providing hackers with back door access to valuable assets.
Then, of course, your social media accounts can be hacked and disparaging posts uploaded, creating a negative backlash from the public and leading to claims of defamation, particularly if these posts are aimed at other businesses or individuals. Negative comments about your own business can also be uploaded on your social media platforms by disgruntled customers, tarnishing trust in your brand and your company’s reputation. Even your own employees can inadvertently upload provocative posts or provide insider information. Cyber criminals can also run social media scams using your company’s details to obtain money illegally from your customers.
How to protect your business from social media risks
There are quite a few steps that you can take to keep your social media accounts safe from cybercriminals. These generally include basic security measures but can also include cyber insurance as an additional protection. Here are a few tips to consider.
- Only allow specific employees to post on your social media accounts.
- Have guidelines in place that dictate the tone of voice to be used in your posts, as well as how your business responds to comments, particularly if they are negative.
- Provide training for staff to ensure that they are aware of the type of online threats that can be posed by social media platforms.
- If a concern with your social media accounts is identified, ensure that employees know what action to take and who needs to be informed of the incident.
- Create a vision statement so that employees know how to represent your brand on social media.
- Ensure that passwords for your social media accounts are unique, strong, secure and changed frequently.
- Monitor social media for mentions of your brand and get on top of negative posts or comments quickly.
- Consider a cyber insurance package policy to help your business manage any incidents, including brand management or recovery from ransomware or malware attacks. Also discuss your liability from passing on malware or breaching another company’s IP. Cyber insurance packages can include public & product liability, professional indemnity and loss of profit insurances coverage.
To decide what type of insurance policies are suitable for your business, talk to a professional insurance specialist today.