Security Experts:

From Understanding Social Media Risks to Preventing Them

Enterprises Must Monitor Their Entire Digital Shadow in Order to More Accurately Identify Specific Risks as They Unfold

In a recent column, I discussed the importance of opening your eyes to the specific risks that the use of social media can present to your organization. Now that you have a better understanding of these risks, what options do you have to better protect your organization against them?

Early detection is imperative for mitigating social media risks. With the help of intelligence services you can improve your organization’s situational awareness to identify and even anticipate certain challenges in order to strengthen your defenses. Here are five aspects you should consider when evaluating these types of services and establishing best practices for monitoring social media risks.

Monitoring Your Digital Shadow1. Measure and expand your understanding of your organization’s risk from online exposure. Because data leakage can never be completely prevented, the goal must be to detect it as soon as possible. Intelligence services that have the capacity to examine a multitude of multi-lingual and diverse sources can provide greater assurance that all points of compromise on social media are considered.

2. Enforce a proactive approach to defense against targeted cyber attacks by having greater situational awareness of adversaries, their tactics and motives. The intelligence services you invest in should continuously monitor hostile groups and their operations.  Many services cover criminal forums and ‘dark web’ sites but organizations also need to monitor social media to detect targeted attacks, social engineering and hacktivist campaigns specific to their firm.

3. Monitor online mentions of your organization and brand names, and subsequently identify and swiftly remove potentially harmful material before it spreads and causes further damage. Because the publishing of damaging material can never be completely prevented, the best option is for organizations to detect it as soon as possible. To effectively protect your brands, monitoring services should be tailored to your organization as every brand is unique.

4. Monitor the digital shadows cast by high-value or high-risk individuals within your organization. Because of the potential for abuse and harm, potential threats to VIPs must be detected and handled as soon as possible. Continuous monitoring services that cover a range of geographies and sources, and enable you to identify personal threats, can reveal false identities and prevent the exposure of sensitive personal information that could lead to coercion, crime or physical harm.

5. Design a social media policy that allows the monitoring of your employees’ digital shadows. Ensure this policy is reviewed frequently to keep it up to date. Employees need to be aware that their presence on social media may be monitored as they constitute part of the organization’s digital shadow. It is the employer’s responsibility to train employees to comply with the policy.

It isn’t sufficient to open your eyes to social media risks. You need to keep them open by way of constant surveillance. With the right external intelligence services, you can continuously monitor your organization’s entire digital shadow in order to more accurately identify specific risks as they unfold. This intelligence equips you with better situational awareness so that you can pre-empt cyber attacks and security breaches at the earliest possible stage, as well as implement a proactive, intelligence-led approach to defending your organization against such events.

view counter
Alastair Paterson is CEO and Co-Founder of Digital Shadows. Alastair has worked for over a decade advising secure government and FTSE 100 clients on large-scale data analytics for risk and intelligence. Before founding Digital Shadows in 2011, Alastair was International Propositions Manager at BAE Systems Detica working with clients in the Gulf, Europe and Australasia. He holds a first class MEng in Computer Science from the University of Bristol.