With great power comes great responsibility.

This could not be more true when it comes to networking giants like Facebook, Google, Instagram and WhatsApp.

In light of the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal – for which Mark Zuckerberg addressed US Congress on Tuesday regarding Facebook data protection policies – there are more reasons than ever to understand how to protect your business from an intrusive online data breach.

While the incident has triggered calls for stricter regulation on social sites, it could be a long time before such laws are enforced. In the meantime, businesses need to step up their game when it comes to online security – particularly on social media.

Take data protection seriously

Online surveillance is now a part of life, and it’s getting more invasive by the day.

Despite popular belief, big businesses are not the only ones at risk. In fact, 71% of cyberattacks occur at businesses with less than 100 employees, according to the Small Business Committee.

With more digital assets than an individual and less security than a large organisation, small businesses are the perfect target.

In a worldwide survey of more than 10,000 consumers, digital security company Gemalto discovered that a massive 70 per cent of consumers would stop doing business with a company if it experienced a data breach.

It also revealed that seven in 10 consumers feel that businesses don’t take the security of customer data very seriously.

Measures to secure your corporate accounts

  • Don’t rely on free security, invest in a multi-layered defence system
  • Close any unused accounts – they could be compromised without your knowledge
  • Limit account access to only the necessary staff
  • Be password smart – never use the same password twice and be strict on patching and updating
  • Conduct regular online security audits and data backup
  • Use multi-factor and biometric authentication where possible
  • Closely monitor programs and tools that have access to your social media accounts
  • Educate and train employees in vigilant social media conduct to ensure they can identify and avoid phishing scams and fake news

Are other social sites just as dangerous as Facebook?

Twitter

Due to its open nature and because it collects less information than Facebook, Twitter is at lower risk of a data breach like what we saw with Cambridge Analytica.
A name, description and link are all it asks of new users. The biggest risks this social platform poses are social connection mining and the rise of fake users or ‘bot armies’ that can influence conversations and create fake news.

Instagram

Owned by Facebook, Instagram is at a low risk like Twitter – simply swapping out the tweets for pictures.
However, if your business’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are linked (using the same email address), then the social site can find out more about you than you might think.

Snapchat

The rising popularity of Snapchat for business has raised a number of questions around the possibility of stored snaps. While Snapchat urges that it hasn’t been secretly stockpiling a collection of our private snaps, all online communications leave a trace – even those snaps you think you might have deleted.

It’s important to take some time to review the privacy policies on each of the social sites you use, and look at adjusting your company’s privacy settings on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

More on data collection, consumer rights and hacking.