Social Media Privacy: Useful Tips to Safeguarding your Tourism Business

Security Shield Protection Privacy Network Concept

This is not new. Social media has transformed the way we communicate as individuals. You know this. However, what we may not know is when to draw the line on what data we decide to keep private or share with the public. Whether you blog, post, like or update information about your organization’s procedures and services, there is one component that must be addressed: safety and security. The connection between travel and technology is closer than ever, with businesses constantly turning to social media to market their services and reach customers in a more intimate and personal way.  At the company level, our reliance on social media as a marketing tool makes it imperative to protect our digital assets, as well as our brand reputation. Passwords, login and access points, controls and administration must all be considered from a security perspective. Here are some ways to protect your digital presence when using social media in your business.

  1. Update your company’s social media privacy settings

First things first. When was the last time you updated your privacy settings on your social media accounts? As these change periodically, it is important to check your privacy settings at least every 90 days to ensure that you control what information you allow fans to view about your business. This survey discovered that 69% of online social networking account owners are apprehensive about security on social networking sites, yet only 31% of them updated their privacy settings within the last 90 days. Not updating your privacy settings can make your fan page an open target for social engineering, data and identity theft. Additionally, unlike your personal Facebook profile or Twitter account, you are less likely to know a large number of the “friends” and “fans” on your business page. While you can’t assess every single person, you can however be protected by taking a few moments to select the privacy settings that will be most suitable for your business. Click on the following social media platforms to read more about how you can adjust your privacy settings by viewing each platform’s data policy:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

  1. Beware of Social Media Scams

According to this report released in 2014 by the Organization of American States (OAS), Latin American and Caribbean nations account for five of the top ten countries spending the most time on social networks. Users can often be at risk to scams on social media sites, lured by a false sense of security conveyed by the presence of many friends online. Fake offers, such as those claiming to give away prizes, accounted for the largest number of malicious incidents impacting Facebook users in 2013 with 81 percent in 2013 compared to 56 percent in 2012. It is also wise be on the lookout for criminals impersonating your business. They often use legitimate logos and offer favorable travel deals, enticing users to complete application forms asking for personal information, including credit card numbers which are charged right away. To control this, consider using a free Google feature known as Google Alerts. Instead of taking time away from your business to conduct constant Internet searches, Google Alerts allows you to quickly set and receive email alerts of search results and news stories that match keywords you specify, such as your own name or your business name. To enter your search query, create, and manage the details of your alerts, visit https://www.google.com/alerts.

  1. Utilize multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication requires the user to identify themselves in various ways when signing in. When enabled, the social platform sends a verification code to the user’s phone as a text message. This code must be entered online, before access is granted. From a business security point of view, when multi-factor authentication is enabled, if an account is accessed from an unknown device or IP address, the administrator will automatically be notified of an unauthorized attempt to access the account. Utilizing multi-factor authentication to protect company social media accounts prohibits access to a certain group of people who need approval from the account administrator and helps safeguard the account from being hacked.

  1. Create strong passwords

When developing your company’s social media account passwords, be sure to use a variety of alpha-numeric characters, including special characters and spaces, if possible. Weak passwords such as “123456” or “password” simply won’t make the cut, yet surprisingly they were some of the most common passwords found in the LinkedIn data breach back in 2012. The number of social media accounts hacked is actually quite staggering. It is recommended to use brief but complex phrases such as “1Kn0wN0w” or any other phrase that has a minimum of eight characters in length and contains at least ¾ of the following components:

  • Uppercase Letters
  • Lowercase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols

Closing Thoughts

This 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report highlights that the hospitality industry is one of the top three industries most frequently targeted by cybercrime. Attacks involve theft of card holder data and personally identifiable information such as data held by hotels including contact details, travel plans, birth dates, passport data and personal preferences—which can all have the potential to be used in fraud and extortion. Although this post focused specifically on social media privacy methods, it does in fact fall under the security of your company’s IT systems. To protect them, implement a cyber risk management policy and ensure that it is a part of your company’s governance framework.

It is also useful to carry out regular risk assessments and act on the results when vulnerabilities are recognized. This can help you to avoid costs incurred as a result of a security breach as well as the negative publicity about your brand in the event of a cyberattack.  Protecting your information is an essential prerequisite for staying in business!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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