How to protect your business from social media threats
Social media presents small businesses with many
opportunities, including customer support and the ability to
communicate quickly with employees, customers and suppliers.
However, the problem is that just as you can rapidly pass on
information, so can you rapidly pass on a threat. NETGEAR's Jason
Leung presents six key ways to protect your business from social
Social media is the biggest security challenge posed to small
businesses. It can point your employees towards websites that might
be infected and, if a colleague unwittingly shares a link, you make
an assumption that it's safe since it's come from somebody you
trust. This may not be the case.
NETGEAR recently commissioned a piece of research looking at how
important social media has become for businesses. We asked 300
small business owners and IT managers how they were using social
media in their company. Nearly half of those polled said they are
using social media to stay in touch with their customers and nearly
60% said they were using tools such as Facebook and Twitter for
internal communications. But only 29% said that had made moves to
educate their staff about the risks posed by Web 2.0 and best
practices to avoid malware.
This shows that small businesses are embracing social media but
they are not giving enough consideration to the dangers it
potentially causes their business.
There are two main threats small businesses face from social
media. The first is perhaps the most obvious: an effect on
productivity in the form of addictive games on Facebook such as
Farmville and Texas Holdem Poker.
The second, less visible, yet more serious, are the malicious
links that are being spread on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
These scams work by luring people to click on links posted on
social networking sites with sensational or scandalous topical
comments. However, by clicking on these links people are
potentially downloading and infecting their computer with malware
which could cripple your IT network. Even worse still, they'll
potentially be spreading the problem around the business via their
There are six simple and practical ways you can protect your
network from becoming infected with malware originating from social
1. Train your employees to recognise
Some of the scams that hit businesses may seem obvious with
hindsight but people still fall for them. A simple solution is
running short training sessions to educate your employees about the
type of social media threats and what to look out for, since this
can prevent them from falling for these obvious yet dangerous
2. Keep your employees updated on the latest
Educating your employees about the threats posed by social media
malware has to be an ongoing process. However, it doesn't have to
be time consuming and it can be as simple as checking out http://www.prosecure.netgear.com/resources/threat-monitor.php
which will keep you informed of the latest threats employees should
look out for.
3. Always update your software
Ensure your employees are updating the software on their
computer when they are prompted to, as these often patch
vulnerabilities. This includes making sure they have the latest
operating system updates, the latest version of downloaded software
such as Adobe Flash and the latest version of their internet
4. Keep antivirus on the PC on and patched
at all times
Small businesses have plenty of pressing issues to deal with on
a daily basis and internet security is not at the top of the to-do
list. Many business owners view it as a tax upon the business, but
up to date security is essential to protect IT in order to
safeguard important business and customer data. Remember to use URL
and content filtering at your network gateway through your
antivirus to prevent dangerous URLs opening if your employees click
5. Recognise Apples can turn sour
There is a misconception that Apple Macs are invincible from
malware. A number of social media threats target Apple operating
systems as well as Windows based ones. Since many Macs have little
or no protection, it makes them an easy target.
6. Keep track of where your employees are
visiting while surfing
This does not mean constantly looking over everyone's shoulder
or snooping through their browsing history. However, using
corporate controls to maintain some visibility of the sites they
are visiting is useful, in case that your network can block access
to dangerous sites.
more about NETGEAR
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