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While digital marketing undoubtedly has many benefits, it is often described as a double-edged sword. Yes, it presents countless opportunities for businesses, but it also presents countless opportunities also for cybercriminals.
Most digital marketing requires businesses to collect and process huge volumes of data about their customers. In the event of a breach, this information can be used in malicious ways, which directly harms the clients and has a negative impact on your company’s reputation. As a result, cybersecurity should be a primary concern of any digital marketer.
Below are 7 steps you can take to protect your business from cybercrime:
Cybercrime is a global issue affecting millions of people every year. However, data breaches aren’t simply happening because technology is evolving so much; they are happening largely as a result of human error and negligence.
The best way around this is to teach your employees all about cybersecurity. Encourage them to create complex passwords, and to approach suspicious emails with caution. Implement an anti-phishing strategy and ensure your clients are aware of it. For instance, explain that your employees will never ask them directly for their personal or financial information.
2. Use VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a tool that connects a private network with a public network, enabling users to send and receive data across shared or public networks. This gives the impression that their computing devices are directly connected to the private network, but all data is encrypted, making your actions anonymous and preventing hackers from spying on you. Users can also access the internet as if from a different geographical location, which is extremely useful if you need to check real search results in a particular country.
3. Install a HTTPS certificate
A HTTPS certificate is an encryption certificate that encrypts the traffic passing through your site. Not only does it protect the personal and financial data of your customers, but it also brings added commercial benefits: most customers are much more trusting of HTTPS websites, while search engines rank them higher, improving the results of your marketing efforts.
4. Protect critical assets
In addition to a HTTPS certificate, you should also install additional protection features for your business-critical assets, such as social media accounts, websites and administrator logins. At the minimum, this should include two-factor authentication, which only grants access after presenting two pieces of evidence (knowledge, possession or inherence).
If, for example, your company’s social media account gets hijacked even for a short while, it can wreak all kinds of havoc with your business.
5. Make regular updates
Making regular updates is one of the easiest ways to stay ahead of any potential vulnerabilities as they arise. The best way around this is simply to turn on automatic updates.
6. Regularly backup data
In addition to stealing sensitive information, cyberattacks can outright destroy it. As data is the lifeblood of digital marketing, the importance of backing it up cannot be overestimated. Losing the data you have been collecting since the inception of your business can eliminate years of progress in a blink of an eye.
7. Enforce strong passwords
We’ve talked about this before on the 8 Ways Media blog because it is such an important point that is all too often overlooked. Strong, complex passwords provide vital protection from cybercrime. However, one survey by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre analysed passwords belonging to accounts worldwide, and found 2.3 million accounts were hacked in 2018 with the password “123456.”
Here are the top 10 most common passwords:
Strong passwords are essential, none more so than for digital marketers because of their likelihood of being specifically targeted by hackers.
Key features of complex passwords:
• Mix upper and lower case
• Replace letter with numbers
• Add a special character (e.g. @ ! ?)
• Make it longer than 10 characters
• Use whole sentences or phrases
For ultimate safety, you should use a Password Manager (more on Password Managers, here).
As a digital marketing specialist it is your duty to know the basics of cybersecurity to protect yourself, your company and your clients. Ignoring these basic principles puts you, your company and your clients in danger, and can potentially lead to financial and reputational losses for your business.
If you’re concerned about data security, then get in touch. Our team of consultants is on hand to help with you data protection, brand protection and much more.