Netscape Navigator, the first commercial browser, was launched in 1994. While the worldwide web has brought great benefits, the 1990s also saw the start of cyber-crime, with emails as the first casualties. The next decade saw the social media and mobile phone explosion. Businesses realized they needed to make effective use of digital marketing. Unfortunately, the boom in cybercrime matched the one in these media channels. Cybercrime continues at alarming rates, costing economies, businesses, and individuals vast amounts of money. As a digital marketer, you need to know the primary threats you face and how to prevent them. Here’s the list of helpful tips to follow, to prevent sensitive data from leaks and attacks.
#1 Be vigilant when using email
Emails may have been around a long time, but they still constitute a serious threat. You and your colleagues receive them daily, often in extremely large numbers. Shockingly, 91% of hacks begin with an email. It’s easy to be deceived by sophisticated phishing emails. We may let in viruses and malware without knowing.
Email is a powerful marketing tool, but how do you protect yourself and your organization?
- Train yourself and your staff to spot phishing emails.
- Ensure all passwords are strong and changed regularly.
- Implement encryption strategies.
- Use effective spam filters.
- Learn more about what a VPN is, and use it to encrypt your data.
Summary: You need email as part of digital marketing. However, you also need to stay informed, vigilant and set up the necessary protections to use it safely.
#2 Protect your social media accounts
While there’s no denying how effective social media is for marketing, these accounts are now a prized target for hackers. Once one account is breached, it can be a gateway to others and a tool for disseminating destructive content.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce, even if not eliminate the risk:
- Use strong passwords.
- Utilize a two-factor authentication policy.
- Ensure all individuals use password managers.
- Keep track of social media activities.
- Caution your team members about unsolicited messages.
Summary: Protecting your social media accounts is vital. Take precarious measures and delegate some of these actions to systems admin staff.
#3 Guard your Customer Relationship Management Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a powerful tool that stores sensitive customer data. Cybercriminals often target these databases and either steal the data, take over or completely damage it. A hacked CRM has terrible consequences for the organization, its customers, its reputation, and its brand. These often carry financial losses too.
Protecting software with a strong password is crucial, but it’s not enough. You need to:
Select CRM software with proven safety and security measures like a firewall.
- Limit access to your CRM software to a few trustworthy staff members.
- Restrict access to the software, so it’s only via the organization’s own devices.
- Implement a tracking tool to monitor CRM logins.
Summary: Your CRM software is a valuable tool but a vulnerable data source. If compromised, the effects can be severe.
#4 Use caution when using WordPress
There are many content management systems that are used daily by digital marketers. WordPress is singled out for discussion because it’s the dominant one and has vulnerabilities, especially with the plugins. Where there are weaknesses, there are hackers looking for ways in. Malware coming in via WordPress can do considerable damage.
You can take steps to prevent attacks or at least reduce the chances:
- Enable automatic updates for plugins, extensions, and patches.
- Delete outdated plugins, extensions, or themes you don’t use.
- Only use legitimate plugins and avoid any free or third-party ones.
- Install a web application firewall that will filter website traffic.
- Backup your website, so if there is an attack or plugin failure your data is safe.
Summary: By using legitimate updates and plugins, you can go a long way to making WordPress safer. Web security is an excellent additional layer.
#5 Protect your website and domain
Your website and domain are the gateways to your business for your customers. It’s also a doorway for cybercriminals who may even pose as customers. Without proper protection, websites are easy prey for hackers who can enter and steal data. The results could be most serious and costly for you and your customers.
- Select your hosting provider with care.
- Implement identity security, including two-factor or multi-factor authentication.
- Install a robust firewall that monitors and screens all traffic.
- Ensure that the CMS you are using is using updated plugins.
Summary: As a digital marketer, you work online and make decisions about which channels to use. As such, you share responsibility for guarding against breaches.
To sum up
Cybersecurity may not be a formal part of your job description. However, as a daily user of email, social media, CRM software, content management systems, and your website, you must deal with the ever-present risks.
A key part of your duty is to care about basic security measures to protect your organization’s and your client’s sensitive information. Make the best use of the numerous tools and safeguards available to keep your data and clients safe.