Social media is here to stay, and its reach grows steadily each day as more users climb on board.

What makes it so popular is the powerful influence it has as well as its ease of use. Gone are the days when social media was just a tool for reconnecting with old acquaintances – it has become a legitimate tool for marketing one’s business.

As a result, there are more employees using their social media accounts to promote businesses and there are more businesses that have created social media profiles in order to strengthen their digital presence. While there are great benefits to having a powerful online presence linked to social media, it also brings with it issues of security and privacy.

Social media is always changing so that platforms become more accessible and easier to use. There is so much information shared on social media and this certainly creates a strong need for maintaining security and privacy. Social media accessibility in the workplace can affect security in an organisation. A careless post can compromise security or provide cyber criminals with just enough information to impersonate an employee and gain access to restricted information.

“It may seem like a very simple solution, but employee education is where security starts. Make sure they are up to date with your company’s social media policies and that they are aware of the role they can play in cyber security through being selective about the kind of information they share online,” explains Indi Siriniwasa, vice-president of Trend Micro, sub-Saharan Africa.

Since email security has increased, cyber criminals have turned to social media for phishing. Many people are more relaxed around social media and would not think twice about clicking on a personality quiz, which could be a cover for obtaining sensitive information or getting people to click on malicious links.

“Social media is also used to distribute malware through links, direct messages and posts. It’s also a great platform for a spam campaign because it isn’t as secure as emails have now become. Create strong passwords and use two-factor authentication with social media accounts. Employ the same measures of caution you’d use when opening an email. Strong security that provides a multi-layered approach will work well hand in hand with user vigilance,” says Siriniwasa.