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By Bruce Sussman
Thu | Aug 1, 2019 | 6:30 AM PDT

There are 3.484 billion active social media users as of January 2019.

Many of these people are your employees who use personal social media accounts on business devices and transmit posts, videos, and messages over your network.

And then there are the organizations themselves, increasingly using social media to achieve objectives, typically for recruiting, marketing, and customer service purposes.

Trend Micro recently addressed this merging of social media and the enterprise:

"This overlapping use of social media has been described to have blurred the divide between professional and personal, at least in the online world. Organizations share their expertise through selected employee accounts to have a more approachable image. Individuals stay active on social media as it can be essential to their jobs."

4 ways to reduce security risk from social media use

In a special paper on "Linking the Enterprise to Social Media Security," Trend Micro revealed four key ways to increase cybersecurity around social media usage within organizations. In bullet points, they look like this:

1. Know how your organization uses social media. 

Do you know which members of your business are using social media, which platforms and how often? Think of it like your IT assets—you can't secure it if you don't know you have it.

2. Train employees on best practices for social media use and other relevant cybersecurity techniques. 

Help your social media users understand the way hackers can use social media to attack or spoof your organization. Brief them on the ways they can help the organization with its security posture.

Here's an example of how a cyber attack started with social media:


3. Practice good password hygiene and enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 

Most social media platforms now offer some sort of 2FA. This is a crucial way to make sure organizational or personal social media accounts don't get hacked. Hackers sometimes take over accounts in an attempt to phish others or cause reputational harm to the company involved.

4. Employ strong security solutions. 

You can now deploy technology to help protect the organization's accounts and network from attacks like malware, phishing campaigns, malicious URLs, and evolving threats.

Social media use: continuing to rise

Social media usage climbed 9% during the last year.

And with more of the world becoming connected by high-speed internet access, the number of people connected and the number of threats will continue to increase.

Now, more than ever, each organization should assess the cybersecurity risk from social media and take steps to mitigate it.

[RESOURCE: Trend Micro special publication "Linking the Enterprise to Social Media Security"]