By: Didier Serra, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SecureKey
Today marks the eighth-annual iteration of Social Media Day. Launched by Mashable to celebrate social media’s impact on global communications, this is an opportunity to consider social media past, present and future. According to research, more than 3.4 billion people connect worldwide through some form of digital platform. In Canada specifically, more than 20 million people are expected to participate in social media networks by 2018. Facebook alone currently has 18 million Canadian users, with Instagram and Twitter following at 8.5 million and 2.7 million, respectively.
I’m French, I live in California and I work for a Canadian company. My family, friends and colleagues live all over the world. In many of these cases, social media facilitates our relationships. From Skyping, to sharing presentations with colleagues online, to sending a funny cat picture to friends overseas, social media has become an essential form of communication that builds opportunities worldwide in places that never would have existed 20 or even 10 years ago. What a marvelous thing it is to be able to share content or important news immediately, no matter where you are in the world.
And yet, as I sat down to write this blog post, I thought about what the reliance on social media really means. Apparently, consumers spend an average of two hours per day browsing social media of some kind, but I think that figure is probably much higher for most. In fact, teenagers in the U.S. spend roughly 9 hours a day using media. So much of our lives are domiciled online, it worries me that the only framework we have to protect our digital social assets are passwords and series of “safe” questions. In a fast-paced, digital age, it can be easy to forget the importance of building secure connections and incorporating privacy from the very beginning. Keeper Security released a study recently that indicated someone’s identity is stolen every two seconds, and children are 35 times more likely to have their identities stolen. Half of this identity thievery happens to children under the age of 6.
Those are very sobering statistics. If our children are building social media profiles and spending close to 9 hours a day browsing some form of social media, it stands to reason that this form of communication will be even more ingrained in their lives than it will be in ours.
As a cybersecurity professional that sees data breaches and identity vulnerabilities every day, I firmly believe that every day should be Social Media Day. We should appreciate the vast opportunities social media has brought to society and will bring to our children, but also be cognizant that these connections can come with a price. That’s why I believe what SecureKey is doing in the identity verification and authentication space is so important. We are building secure connections that offer a private and trusted framework for digital consumers. So today, let’s celebrate the social media of today, and all that it has to offer, but also remember the obligations we have to build more secure and privacy respectful social media connections for tomorrow.