The Five-Step Guide to Better Social Media Security, Step 3: Take the Necessary Steps to Protect Passwords

Security Masthead

Social media security issues can be intricate, from highly-intelligent phishing scams to the work of expert hackers.

That said, more often than not they aren’t complex. In fact, the most common social media security issues arise as a result of weak passwords.

In 2012, the top 3 most common passwords were “password,” “123456,” and “12345678.” No matter how many precautions you take to protect your social channels, if you don’t take the time to protect your password, you will be easy prey for savvy hackers looking to gain access to your accounts.

The following is the third excerpt of a five-step guide that breaks the most common security challenges related to social media and provides simple solutions to reduce the risk of them coming to fruition within your company. This except specifically looks at the need to take extra steps to protect your passwords, including implementing a password management tool and single sign-on technology. Download the guide in its entirety below.

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The challenge:

Shared social media accounts inevitably mean shared passwords. The more accounts a company has, and the more social networks they are active one, the more passwords they will need to create and share amongst all those participating in social campaigns, from interns to top executives. Each of these passwords is information that needs to be protected, lest it falls into the wrong hands. But how do you keep them secure when they’re being passed from employee to employee, or even from branch to branch?

The solution:

Building a strong password using a code or complex wording is the simplest way to improve social media security. Password management tools can help. Photo by greeblie.

The first step in password protection is actually taking the time to build a strong and complex password. With your reputation on the line, short passwords of a few characters simply aren’t going to cut it (the most common password in 2012 was still, sadly, “password”). Consider implementing a password management tool, like LastPass or KeePass, which can generate complex passwords on your behalf.

Once you’ve created a strong password, employees should be certain to never store the password on shared computers, within emails or on mobile devices that could ever be stolen or lost (and not, to state the obvious, on post-its or other papers left lying around). Again, a password management tool like LastPass will store your passwords for you. They also allow you to share passwords without making them physically visible to other members of the team.

Single sign-on (SSO) technology is another effective way to reduce the number of passwords floating around, and the associated risks. SSO allows employees to sign into company social media accounts with the same username and password from their corporate email account. In doing so, the “keys” or passwords to those account remain in the hands of one trusted administrator. You want to ensure that should the password creator leave organization — for any reason — that ultimate control and access to your valuable branded accounts remains secure and intact.

A social media management system also allows you to login to your accounts from anywhere, and on almost any device, without downloading and saving valuable data. HootSuite’s HTTPS settings further protects your passwords and profiles while using HootSuite on public wifi.

Want to read the rest of the guide? Download it below.

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