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Social media is riskier than most businesses realize

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Social media can be a fun and valuable communications tool for successful businesses. However, caution always should be exercised in using networking websites and trusting some information published online.

Excessive participation in social media can come back to haunt people and their businesses more than they probably realize, according to cybersecurity expert Mary Frantz. She will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Sioux Falls Cybersecurity Conference, a virtual event that the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is hosting.


Mary Frantz

Founder & Managing Partner
Enterprise Knowledge Partners, LLC

Some internet sites that stockpile information can get to know users even better than the potential victims know themselves, Frantz said, and users can be manipulated more than they suspect.

There are other risks with social media, too. Regular users might not realize that some deleted information is never fully removed from cyberspace, for example, or that apps on phones can be hacked easier than connected devices used in more controlled environments.

“We need to be much more discerning,” Frantz said in a telephone interview.

Frantz’s keynote presentation about the “Weaponization of Social Media” is expected to be one of the highlights of the annual Cybersecurity Conference.

Sioux Falls Cybersecurity Conference
Wednesday, September 30 | 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $30 per person.
Registrants will be provided a link to access the virtual conference.


Frantz is the founder and managing partner of Enterprise Knowledge Partners, LLC in the Twin Cities. The company provides cybersecurity, forensics, compliance, and technology strategy services.

Frantz shared some disturbing statistics during a presentation about social media last fall in Minneapolis:

  • 15 percent of all online, social media accounts are fake.
  • Up to 28 percent of online personas are manually or automatically controlled trolls or bots.
  • Fake accounts and paid personas drive up to 65 percent of all posts on social media sites.

A representative of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is scheduled to be the second keynoter at the conference. The identity of the speaker has not been disclosed yet. However, the speaker is expected to talk about current cyber threats, best practices and resources available to businesses.


Jake VanDewater

VP of Engineering, Operations & IT
SDN Communications

Jake VanDewater is among other planned presenters at the event. He’s the vice president of engineering, operations and IT at SDN Communications, the gold sponsor of the conference.

VanDewater expects to share details on the cyber threats that SDN is seeing and helping companies build defenses against. He’ll also offer some security advice for people who work remotely and their employers. Exercising simple precautions, such as using strong passwords and deploying multifactor authentication, can significantly limit the potential for business disruptions, he said.

Cybersecurity appears to be a growing concern in the Sioux Falls business community. Companies increasingly are aware of the dangers of problems such as breaches, said Justin Bentaas, public affairs and research manager for the Chamber. Business people also understand the value of data and importance of protecting electronic information, he said.

This will be the third annual cybersecurity conference the Chamber has hosted. The conference is designed for business leaders, including owners, managers and IT professionals. The event is being held virtually this year because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Other topics at the conference include:

  • When Smart Homes Attack
  • Cybersecurity for Small Business
  • Current Cybersecurity Threats and DHS Resources
  • Eye of the Cyber Storm – Managing Cyber Risk for Your Organization

Anyone interested in attending the event can register through the Chamber’s event page.

SDN is a leader in providing business internet, private networking and cloud connectivity to businesses and organizations in communities such as Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Worthington, and the surrounding areas.