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BizReport : Internet : October 24, 2016

Top 3 tips to increase your brand's security

The internet has made it simpler for brands to learn what their competitors are doing online, but many don't think about how competitors might be watching them. Here are three tips to increase your brand's security online.

by Kristina Knight

First, using media monitoring tools to track online mentions

"Tracking online mentions using media monitoring tools - While tracking press coverage seems like a no-brainer when it comes to spying on another company, the value is not what a competitor learns about your company, it's how they use this information," said Paul Everton, Founder & CEO, MailControl. "For instance, if a competitor finds a damaging news story about your company's recent product announcement, they can disseminate the coverage in an e-blast to your current and prospective customers. This is easier than you would think. In most cases, they can track down a customer list by scanning your company website, monitoring employee activity on social media to see who they are interacting with, observing where tracked emails are being forwarded or contacting a supplier or former employee.

Second, by watching your social media

"Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin can be helpful tools in providing competitors a lens into your organization. From one moment to the next, your customers and employees are sharing their grievances and experiences, which can be used by your competitors to better inform their decision-making. It often begins with manually searching for keywords that relate back to your company. Then, the tactics can become even more insidious, with competitors tracking campaign hashtags, employee engagement, key followers and so forth," said Everton. "The key is to have clear policies and procedures in place for what should and should not be shared on social media. Likewise, companies need to monitor their pages to ensure nothing private gets out."

Third, using review sites

"Glassdoor and similar employee review websites offer intelligence on what goes on inside your organization. Whether it's hiring and recruitment practices or salaries and benefits, there is a breadth of information accessible on these websites that a competitor could use to their advantage," said Everton. "In a similar regard, Angie's List, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports are examples of customer review websites that are equally effective in helping competitors collect information on your organization. On a deeper level, these customer review websites allow competitors to identify your company's strengths and weaknesses by providing a close-up on your processes and systems, training procedures, top employees and more."

Tags: digital security, MailControl, small business tips, SMB tips

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