Today’s world of digital freedom and endless content forces the need for attention to protect your personal information like never before. If you find yourself in a position of expansion (big or small) people––good and bad––tend to take notice. It’s really an ironic thing, one of the biggest signs of success is the fact that as you start to grow, you or your company’s reputation become a target, whether it’s through your friendly neighborhood hacker weaving webs of deceit into your customer database, to the typical angry consumer who leaves you a negative review or one of the amazingly broad general stories that get published making you and your company look bad.
CEO of Massive PR, Brook Zimmatore stated in a recent interview,
“The gap between personal security and the future image of an individual or company has become extremely narrow. Sharing high volume content on the history, direction and communication of a person or brand can be at some later point leveraged against them in a smear campaign”.
Following on what Brook said, here are 5 tips to increasing your privacy and security for your online reputation:
Be on the offensive and ready to pounce
One of the best and most efficient means of guarding against negative press coming your way is to master the art of online PR and not get yourself into those hairy situations in the first place (easier said than done, we’ll admit). If that fails the next best thing is to “pounce back” ––what I mean here is create a campaign of trending news articles that will deter attention from you and suppress any negative content coming your way. It also has the added benefit of making you look good and driving more business your way.
Don’t poke a sleeping dragon
Every once in a while, you will get the pissed off customer that feels they “need to spread the truth” to other consumers. This can result in some of the following things:
- Negative reviews, such as yelp, glassdoor or google
- A forum or website designed to deter people from doing business with you
- Fake reviews that will show up as real reviews but have to be addressed none the less
If despite all other efforts to turn the tide on the negative content haven’t gone through, the next best thing to do is to have the content removed (when possible). The key here is not attempting to remove something that is recent, that’s what I mean when I say “don’t poke the sleeping dragon”. If you give an angry person a reason to be mad, believe me––they’ll bite.
Increase your personal online security
A really simple method of protecting your accounts is to use a Gmail account and turn on two-step authorization for you or your employees if that’s what you use. If you’re not using it, I highly recommend making the switch. It’s the simplest and best method of protecting your company’s data and accounts if you’re an SMB or virtual company. It forces you to log into your account and, prompts you for a code that is sent directly to your phone number. The code is then required to enter upon logging in––It doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a simple extra layer of security you can count on.
Don’t be loose with your passwords
People forget their passwords all the or time give them to other people. This inevitably leads to a security risk of some type, i.e. texting your password to a friend, leaving written somewhere or just plain giving it to one of your co-workers. Once this occurs it’s really amazing how simple it is for someone to access your data and scatter it around the internet. Then you get the always enjoyable media crisis and become a point of attack for consumers around the world.
No, I didn’t order this package…you must have the wrong person
Perhaps the most sinister and deceptive tactic used to violate your online privacy and security is the old “please open this attachment email”. This is where your “Spidey Sense” really needs to start tingling and you would be best enlightened by paying attention to trending news for recent company hacks. Last year alone, an estimated 143 million people in the US were affected by the Equifax hack that took place in mid 2017 with all of their personal financial information being traded to hackers and out on the table like it was some kind of cyber terrorism Thanksgiving.
One tool you can also use is a free scanner that Experian provides that can detect if your email is hanging out on the Dark Web waiting to be preyed upon. Next to that, it’s really just common sense not to open an attachment from an email you don’t recognize