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Analysis

Why Marketers Need To Care about Cybersecurity

Think cybersecurity is your CIO’s cup of tea? You’re wrong. As marketers embrace digitization and pursue data — they now have more than lead generation to worry about

Adebisi Adewusi
March 02 2018

Equifax’s data breach exposed the personal data of more than 145.5 million consumers. Hackers accessed a server containing the personal information of more than 57 million Uber drivers and riders, and demanded a $100,000 ransom to delete their copy of the data, which Uber paid. Yahoo, while in negotiations to sell itself to Verizon, announced it had been the victim of the biggest data breach in history, with 3 billion accounts hacked.

According to the Breach Level Index 2017 report, during the first six months of 2017, almost 11 million data records were stolen or lost every day, 437,815 every hour, 7,297 every minute, and 122 every second. You’re probably thinking: “what do these statistics have to do with me? I’m just trying to generate leads and drive revenue for my company”. Dear marketer, security breaches are your concern because you have a LOT of data. And cybercriminals love data.

In this article, you’ll find out how marketers open the door for cybercriminals, why you must pay attention to cybersecurity, and how to keep your data safe.

How Marketers Can Open The Door For Cybercriminals?

As a marketer, you rely on many cloud-based technology marketing tools to make your life easier. From CRM to email marketing to managing your brand’s social media presence. This isn’t a bad thing. The problem is that these technologies have the potential to open your company’s back door to cybercriminals. How?

Ignoring Software Updates

When you’re chasing prospects, qualifying leads and developing marketing strategies, it’s easy to forget about software updates. But the truth is they are important and shouldn’t be left for when you’re on vacation. A recent research by Cisco discovered an average of 14 new vulnerabilities in software per month. What this means is that purchased software may have a flaw that exposes your database to intruders.  That’s why software companies send you a notice to update your software. If there’s anything to be learned from the global ransomware attack that’s plagued over 200,000 computers in 150 countries, it’s that software updates are important. Majority of  companies across the world were victims of the ransomware WannaCry cyber attack of 2017 because they failed to patch and were running some form of the Windows 7 operating system.

The Equifax data breach which lasted from mid-May through July, took place after the company failed to fix a software flaw that had a patch available in March. In other words, the personal data of 145.5 million people could have been protected if Equifax has simply updated their software. Majority of cyber attacks exploit patchable vulnerabilities. So, if you have a habit of ignoring updates or disabling software update notifications. You’re giving cybercriminals easy access to your company’s data. And the effects could be disastrous.

Using Digital Tools

As a modern marketer you’re expected to be in many places at once. So, whether you’re gathering data or scheduling posts for your social media platforms, digital marketing tools help you save time. And maintain your sanity. But whenever you open those time-savers, you’re giving hackers an in; they love digital marketing tools just like you do, but for different reasons. Hackers find it easy to get into applications. Take Buffer—an intuitive social media management platform trusted by marketers like you, to help drive social media results. In 2013, Buffer was hacked, allowing third parties to post under assumed credentials. Similarly, in 2017, a number of prominent Twitter accounts were hacked to tweet Nazi messages after Twitter Counter, a popular tool for analyzing Twitter followers was hacked.

If you use social collaboration tools, you’re also at risk of being attacked. In 2017, attackers breached the Slack community channel of Enigma, a startup exchange for the cryptocurrency Ethereum. The attackers impersonated the executives of the company and instructed community members to send their Ethereum coin to a specific coin wallet, stealing roughly a half million worth of the cryptocurrency. Digital marketing tools aren’t safe from cybercriminals and everyone must be cybersecurity conscious.

5 Security Tips To Keep CyberCriminals Away

It’s important that you take precautionary measures beforehand and properly secure yourself from cybercriminals that want to get their hands on your data. Here are five important security tips to keep you safe.

  • Delete any suspicious-looking emails you receive. Especially if they contain links or attachments. Be extremely wary of any Microsoft Office email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content. Also be suspicious of emails that demand some action without following usual procedures.
  • Have a social media security policy in place that contains guidelines for proper password use. Change the passwords on social media accounts and third-party management tools. Also, avoid reusing the same passwords and take advantage of two factor authentication.
  • Keep your software up to date. Software updates include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
  • CMOs should ensure marketers use good security practices online. Companies can do this by making a review if safe online security practices a stand component of their orientation program for all hires.
  • When purchasing marketing technology, CMOs should involve the IT department. The connections between purchased technology solutions and the company’s infrastructure are weaknesses that hackers can exploit.

Aside from implementing security measures to keep hackers away, CMOs must have a contingency plan on how to notify customers and regulators about a security breach. And how brand, customer and product concerns will be addressed in the aftermath of a breach.

It’s Not If, But When

Security breaches damage the reputation of companies, reduce consumer trust, lead to customer loss and have consequences that can affect customers for years to come. Therefore, as buyers of marketing technology and users of digital tools, marketers must take cybersecurity seriously, and implement adequate measures to keep consumers safe.

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Adebisi Adewusi

Adebisi Adewusi is a freelance B2B writer and a Huffington Post Contributor. When she’s not creating compelling content for businesses, you’ll find her capturing moments with her Nikon d600.

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