When you think of social media, you probably associate it more with your marketing or advertising than any other part of your business. But it should also be a vital part of your organization’s security strategy as well.
Most people spend a significant portion of their lives on social media — that’s true of your rivals, your employees, your customers, and even criminals. So when there’s a threat to your business, that threat often appears on social media before it shows up in real life.
Fortunately, technology that scours social media is available to help you find these threats before they find your business. Here are five reasons your company should invest in technology that monitors the internet and social media.
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Protecting your intellectual property
Intellectual property is some of the most valuable property your organization has, and it’s in your interest to keep it off social media. Yet, sometimes, companies’ private intellectual property makes it onto the web. This can happen through criminal means – certain kinds of ransomware will place intellectual property online if an organization can’t pay the ransom — but it can also happen through negligence. Employees, may for example, take a selfie at work with proprietary information in the background, or they may carelessly reveal a client’s name in a social media post.
If your intellectual property has been exposed online by hackers, you’ll need to consult with an information security consultant in order to make a decision about how to handle that breach.
If proprietary information has been exposed by an employee, you’ll need to speak to that person right away and ask them to take down their post. You will also want to provide proactive training so they understand what isn’t ok to post on their social media feeds. If they’re a repeat offender, you’ll need to evaluate them to see if they’re a security concern.
Protecting your brand from malicious insiders
The idea of people blowing off steam after a bad day at work is almost a trope at this point, but it’s never good when an employee takes to social media to post malicious information about their employers. Not only is it not a good look for anyone involved, that sort of social post can damage your company unless you shut it down immediately.
If you catch a post from a disgruntled employee, it’s time to have a serious discussion with that employee, and take corrective action. That action might range from training to a warning to termination, depending on the post. Remember, while people have a right to post whatever they want on their social feeds, your company doesn’t have to tolerate defamation.
Employees or partners who don’t share your cultural values
Lately we’ve seen a lot of examples in the news of people who have been fired by their organizations after they’ve made headlines for making posts or comments online using hate speech, racism, or other prejudice. Many of these employees have also gotten media attention because they were filmed engaging in hate speech and that video was then posted on social media. That sort of media attention reflects negatively on your company, especially if you don’t share the morals on display. It’s in your best interest to find those posts and videos before they go viral and take action before the media demands you do so — or before your customers start going elsewhere.
Weeding out employees who don’t share your cultural values isn’t just about getting out in front of bad publicity — if your people don’t share your values, you can’t trust them to make the same decisions you would when you’re not onsite with them.
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Improve your customer service
Are your customers unhappy? If they are, chances are they’re talking about you on social media. According to research, only about 1 in 26 unhappy customers actually complain to the company, but that doesn’t mean disgruntled customers aren’t complaining. They are — 13 percent of unhappy customers complain to others, both in person and online.
If you ignore an angry customer, they’re not going to get any happier with you — in fact they’re likely to feel unheard, and other prospective customers will see your lack of a response. If you find those comments and your customer service team is proactive about addressing them, that will build goodwill between you, the customer, and everyone who is watching the exchange.
Security threats to the organization
If criminals are talking about your organization, your leadership, or your employees online, you want to find out quickly. An active threat — like “this company better watch out” or “I’m coming for your CEO” — isn’t something that you want to leave sitting on social media.
Instead you want to be proactive about finding those posts, performing an investigation to see if the poster is a viable threat, and working with law enforcement to end the threat before it finds its way to your door.
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