I listened to two episodes of the Social Media Examiner podcast that put the fear of God into me and created more work for my social media specialist (sorry Adam). The scenario that had me going to Code Red was about security. It was a two-part series. The first part was an interview with a social media star who lost control of ALL of her accounts in the span of an hour, and who lived a hellish nightmare trying to gain control back. The second part was actually a recount by Social Media Examiner of a day in which they lost control of their own Facebook business account.

If it can happen to Social Media Examiner, it can happen to you. More than 80 percent of U.S. companies have been successfully hacked, according to a Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey released just last year. Smaller companies and nonprofits are more vulnerable because they don’t devote as much resources to protect their data.

Here’s the truth: most of us think a social media security breach will never happen to us (myself included before I listened to these episodes). We couldn’t be more wrong. Imagine the nightmare of having your library’s accounts compromised and hackers posting all manner of things IN YOUR LIBRARY’S NAME.

Having anti-virus software and malware protectors on your computers is only half the battle. You still need to take steps to protect yourself and your library from compromise. Start here:

  1. Use two-step authentication when possible. It’s annoying and it takes longer but it’s the best way to make sure your accounts aren’t compromised. Most platforms will ask you to enter a randomly generated code every time you log in. Take the extra step… it’s better to choose safety over convenience.
  2. Limit access to your social media accounts. If you have a large team of people who post for you, you may consider trimming as much as possible. Some platforms like Facebook or scheduling apps like Sprout will let you assign “roles” to people who allow them limited access to posting but not full access to privacy and security settings. You can also ask your social media team to send posts, written and including graphics, to a special inbox or a Google Drive and let one person have access to the actual accounts, pulling those pre-made posts. Don’t give full access to accounts to anyone without great consideration.
  3. Change your passwords often, making up different, obscure passwords for each social media platform. Again, it’s an inconvenience but it’s the best way to make sure passwords won’t be hijacked and to keep hackers guessing.

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