Social Media Marketing Tools and Vendor Risk

By Phoebe Fasulo

Posted on Nov 16, 2018

As your business scales, you need to create a social media voice and presence. As part of your social media marketing strategy, you’re handling multiple social media networks. To enable an effective and safe program, you need to incorporate your social media management software as part of your vendor management program.

What are the security risks involved in social media management tools?

Although social media marketing focuses on creating brand awareness and voice, these strategies open your business up to a variety of risks.

Online Reputation Management

The most obvious risk is your reputation. While garnering viral status from errant Tweets can boost your online presence, the same can be said for damaging your reputation.

You’ve worked tirelessly to create a voice for your brand. However, malicious actor can gain entrance to your social media account and starts using it to spread false claims. Moreover, unauthorized users can post out-of-brand messages on your social media, damaging your reach. According to research, 15% of social media users unfollowing brands posting “irritating” content and 27% mark or report that content as spam.

Reputation monitoring means you need to manage social media accounts in a way that ensures no unauthorized users gain access to it.

Unauthorized Data Access

Unauthorized access to your social media accounts can put your own information as well as that of your followers at risk.

Although many bemoaned Google+ as a social media desert, engineers, developers, and software engineers used it frequently. Additionally, businesses used it to boost SEO since a Google+ share created a Google link that added a little something extra to gain organic content traction.

Any malicious actor that gains administrative rights to your social media manager website can access information about your followers and friends. This includes information posted on your profiles as well as potentially accessing information about friends or followers.

Even worse, if you’re using the same password to access social media that you use for other systems, networks, and software, the malicious actor now has that password. This access means they can get into databases housing personally identifiable employee and customer information.

What is social media management software?

Most social media marketing automation tools are Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) or web-based application products. Regardless of the tool you use, you’re connecting yourself to a domain and accessing a software or platform remotely. By doing this, you’re now using a third-party vendor whose reputation and data security needs to align with your own corporate policies governing cybersecurity.

How do I incorporate social media software tools as part of my vendor management program?

All vendor management programs begin with cataloguing the systems, networks, and software you use. However, to do this effectively, you need cross-departmental input. Unfortunately, part of this means engaging in complex conversations. While your IT department may understand the threats, your marketing department may not.

  • Cyber awareness remains a problem

Cybersecurity often feels as though it’s something only highly mathematical people can understand. Incorporating cybersecurity as part of your corporate culture helps create a more proactive approach to protecting data. However, senior management and the CISO need to find a way to lead the charge towards defending information by modeling the behaviors.

  • Cybersecurity controls could be clearer

Even if your teams are cyber aware, they remain confused about the way cybersecurity controls work. For many, the technical and coding aspects of information security live in the ether of the internet. While they may understand downloading anti-malware or anti-ransomware, many feel that the controls are outside their professional realm. For example, while many news organizations continue to report Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, the average employee may not realize how they can detect one. 

  • Cybersecurity terminology remains a foreign language

DNS, IP, social engineering - all of these words remain a foreign language to many outside the cybersecurity profession. People may have a vague understanding of them, but they may feel intimidated by them as well.

Steps to Mitigating Social Media Management Software Data Security Threats

Social media dashboards enable brand voice, but their data risks remain somewhat mysterious. Depending on the social media network, your information or your customers’ information may be at risk. Moreover, research on the impact of these data leaks remains ambiguous.

  • Define Risk Tolerances

Similar to other vendors, your social media management tools comparison needs to incorporate their cybersecurity controls before purchasing it. While a social media software like Facebook may have obvious problems, other automated social media marketing software may not be as high profile. To protect against the threats these platforms pose, you need to have a way to monitor them.

  • Train employees more thoroughly

Simple cybersecurity quizzes covering passphrase creation and phishing no longer cover everything employees need to know. The evolving threats to data ecosystems require continuously training your employees to recognize the variety of threats that they pose and that the vendors they choose pose. Not only do you need to emphasize employee passphrase complexity and multi-factor authentication, but you need to make sure that the social media content management systems allow for use of those protections as well.

  • Create a common cybersecurity language

Ensuring that all departments can recognize threats requires speaking in a language for everyone that explains and highlights security risks. All departments need to discuss cybersecurity meaningfully so that they can communicate with one another. By creating a common language for everyone in the organization, you create and maintain a culture of cybersecurity.

How SecurityScorecard Enables Social Media Content Management Security

SecurityScorecard reviews your data environment and ecosystem for external threats facing your information. Our ten factors -- network security, DNS health, patching cadence, endpoint security, IP reputation, web application security, cubit score, hacker chatter, leaked credentials, and social engineering -- allow you to continuously monitor your third party social media marketing vendors.

Many social media marketing tools allow you to set up a dedicated IP address range for your accounts so you can control access. SecurityScorecard monitors IP addresses using sinkholes to alert you to the quantity and duration of malware infections as part of its IP reputation factor. Additionally, with our web application security monitoring, you can continuously monitor the external threats facing your social media accounts to maintain brand reputation.

Our security ratings, based on an A-F rating scale, allow the varied stakeholders within your organization to have a common language connecting them to your cybersecurity stance.

Continuous monitoring and cross-functional collaboration allow your CISO and your marketing department to maintain a cyber aware approach to social media marketing.

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