The rise of identity theft in the United States brings up concerns about the safety of social media. In its report on identity theft, market research company Javelin Strategy & Research found that 12.6 million Americans reported their identity stolen in 2012, an increase of around one million cases over the year before. A large amount of the data used by thieves is directly correlated to social media use by consumers. It is important to recognize the risks to your company security when you use social media as part of your marketing strategy.
Risks to Employee Security
A key factor involved in business security is keeping your employees’ information confidential and private. You are responsible for protecting your employees from breaches in company security that can result in identity theft.
Information about your employees that is posted to your company’s social media accounts is a risk to their security. Even if it is only names and email addresses, identity thieves can use that information to phish for further details by creating a fake human resources account and asking for information in the name of the company.
Protect Sensitive Data
The first key aspect is limiting the data you provide. The Wall Street Journal suggests you use caution when you share information through social media. Do not announce the full names of your employees when you congratulate them or announce certain accomplishments. Use a first name only. If you have more than one employee with the same name, then use a last initial. Inform all of your employees that the use of first names and last initials is for their protection so that they know it is a company policy.
Use credit monitoring services to protect your company assets and details. If you’ve heard the story about Lifelock.com, when the CEO, Todd Davis, announced his Social Security number over the radio in an effort to prove a point about his faith in his company, then you have heard about the benefits of the monitoring services. Learn about identity theft protection services, so you can make an educated decision about how they work. Obtain monitoring and alert services to keep your identity and that of your employees as safe as possible when you use social media.
Review Company Accounts and Credit
Do regular checks of accounts and credit to identify potential problems. If you do not know that your company credit is being used illicitly, then you cannot stop the inappropriate use of data. Reviewing accounts will help you recognize when a problem has developed so you can take action to protect assets.
Building up a solid business requires patience and work, but it can be lost instantly if data is stolen. When you recognize that social media puts your business at risk, it is possible to take steps to protect it from further damage in the future.
William David is a freelancer from Detroit who specializes in SEO, social media networking tips, and trends in the tech world.