Is Social Media a Risk to Your Business?
The soft economy, banking crisis and escalating tax burdens were tough enough on small-business owners, but these owners also increasingly face new threats related to the use of social media. Following are some tips and information to help small-business owners explore the opportunities of this rapidly growing phenomenon while protecting employees and clients.
Major Social Media Sites
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are currently the most popular social media sites, but there are dozens – if not hundreds – more. Each is designed to speed communication between users, making them effective for marketing. But they can also be used to transmit bad information or even malicious software codes.
Could your business be at risk due to a disgruntled ex-employee? Increasingly, the answer is “yes.” By their very nature, social media make it easy for people to post almost anything and instantly share it with thousands of others. Worse, once a message goes “viral,” it’s all but impossible to retract the information. Negative publicity, difficulty in recruiting top candidates and even possible security slips are just a few of the possible outcomes related to even the most innocent communications.
Unfortunately, not all breaches are quite so innocent. Overt attacks against the network, downloading of harmful data and even the theft of sensitive client lists have become everyday concerns as employees increasingly surf the Internet during work hours.
Prevention and Protection
Small-business owners should focus on prevention and protection. Have a written policy in place explaining the company position on the use of social media sites by employees. Be sure to cover both work-related and off-hour communications that may directly or indirectly reflect upon the business, clients or other employees. Many business owners find it helpful to purchase a rider or addendum providing additional liability coverage for exactly this type of scenario.
Proper security measures, including firewalls, antivirus protection, passwords and frequent screening of employees’ online and email communications can help spot and address potential issues before they become major problems. Employees should be trained on all aspects of online and internal communications and a robust reporting protocol put in place.
For more information, contact:
Page Insurance, Ltd
102 Boston Street
Guilford, CT 06437