27Sep 2020

How To Overcome Cybersecurity Challenges In Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an important part of every business. However, there is a challenge when a business has to share data that should be kept private with other parties.

With cybersecurity, a business protects its data from hackers and secures business information online. With advanced technologies, businesses are able to secure their data with different systems.

Companies spend billions trying to keep their businesses safe from cyber threats. Even then, the risks are still rife. For instance, WannaCry attacked all computers running Windows XP.

When the malware attacked computers, users woke up to find ransom demands, a Bitcoin wallet, and a countdown regulator. This kind of attack can happen with any business, and every business needs to be ready.

In 2013, the UK government gave a report that showed more than 90 percent of large businesses and as much as 74 percent of small businesses had experienced a data breach.

The problem is, most small businesses do not pay much attention to the risks cybersecurity issues pose. Something as simple as a USB stick from outside the office or a social media post can wreak havoc.

Some of the areas where cybersecurity challenges are experienced include:

Content Marketing

content-marketing

Content marketing aims to attract audiences interested in the business and convert them to paying customers or entice them to take action. However, there are security vulnerabilities that come with such content.

The content management system, CMS, is the loophole to cybersecurity challenges that a business might face. A CMS works for small and large businesses, allowing them to customize their content to their audience’s needs.

content-marketing

CMS platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress are prone to attacks. Malicious users looking for customers’ information might seek access to the CMS.

Attackers use distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks (among other attacks) to compromise the infrastructure systems in your organization. These attacks might result in data exposure or data breach.

CMS packages all update the security protocols in the software. However, marketers still need to maintain security practices when using any CMS platform. Creators need to regulate the creation of user accounts.

Administrators also need to ensure that the server operating systems and software are up to date. These applications should access the CMS from secure networks.

When companies enforce the creation of strong passwords, user accounts stay secure.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a crucial part of digital marketing. The challenge comes in phishing and spear phishing.

For instance, in 2015, Anthem (a health insurer in the US) experienced a cyberattack that saw hackers get access to more than 80 million users’ details.

The data breach cost the company more than $100 million. Attackers used a phishing email.

Phishing scams are not new. As more companies make email marketing one of the main marketing channels, the risks of phishing attacks increase.

Again, as more companies are transitioning to the digital space, phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated. These attacks mostly target small businesses that are ignorant of the risks but large businesses are also not safe.

In email marketing, customers provide attackers with the loopholes to get into the business. Attackers look for vulnerability in customers.

The attackers might use attachments and hyperlinks to open the door to the cyberattacks.

Digital marketers can reduce the risks of email hijacking through:

  • Ensuring that the Internet Service Provider and the servers are updated
  • Employ software that monitors and offers security for all email marketing needs. These applications ensure that all email marketing emails only go to the desired audiences and have encryption to reduce attacks.
  • Educate the marketing team and customers to learn to identify phishing emails

Social Media Marketing

social-media-marketing

Social media has revolutionized communication and interactions.

Companies today can use platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as a storefront where they display and sell products or they can use these platforms to engage with customers, acquire, and convert them. While at it, companies are exposed to risks.

Social media comes with risks of identity theft. Brands with weak user account passwords, customers who download all attachments and those who give confidential details, and others are exposed to risks.

The attackers use these platforms to find vulnerabilities and attack companies through users.

Some of the precautions that social media marketing teams can take include:

  • Enforcing the use of strong passwords
  • Monitoring activities on social media
  • Educating customers on social media attacks
  • Implementing strict privacy settings

Social sharing makes it challenging for businesses to stay safe from all social media attacks. Businesses need to foster social media security-aware culture into their social media marketing strategy.

This way, everyone in the marketing team is mindful of security risks.

Customer Relationship Management

CRM is an important element in every business. CRM manages crucial business information. The information in CRM and its functions make the system prone to cyberattacks.

The function of CRMs is to identify, acquire, and store customer data for digital marketing. As such, malicious attackers might exploit any vulnerability in the system.

Some of the most common CRM systems include Oracle, mySAP, and Salesforce among others. Such systems update their software regularly, compromises are still possible and a malicious attack might still occur.

Attackers use DDoS attacks, identity theft, data breaches, and malware. A CRM system encompasses different platforms and works with different departments, there is a responsibility gap.

The responsibility gap occurs when there is a false sense of security that increases the risks of cyberattacks.

All departments in an organization need to manage security systems proactively. This reduces the existence of a weak link. Companies can reduce the risk of an attack through:

  • Security software
  • Firewalls
  • Virtual private networks
  • Strong passwords

eCommerce

ecommerce

Vulnerabilities in eCommerce systems make it challenging for digital marketers to convert potential customers. Weak links occur in systems security flaws and in identity theft.

When consumers fear that their data is not safe or their financial accounts are exposed to risks, they might be reluctant to take any action no matter the digital marketing team’s efforts.

The success of every company relies on providing an authentic eCommerce customer experience which includes customer acquisition, retention, and growth.

Therefore, marketing teams have to ensure that acquisition, retention, and growth are the primary aspects of every marketing strategy.

Companies have to adopt multiple security strategies to shun any fears that customers might have on the transactional process online.

Companies can start by using secure sockets layer (SSL) protocols and two-factor authentication process to assuage the fears of the customers.

Multiple security strategies may not guarantee a secure transactional process, it helps provide a robust security system for the eCommerce applications and dissuade the attackers from launching attacks.

Education And Cybersecurity In Digital Marketing

There are security risks and threats in every aspect of digital marketing. During marketing campaigns, marketers share and parcel data across different systems and platforms.

There might be loopholes in the security systems and software an organization uses but the main weak links lie in the marketing team and the customers.

Companies need to talk to the marketing team and the customers to ensure they know the risks that come with sending data across different platforms. The marketing team can engage in topics such as:

  • Identifying phishing emails
  • Enforcing the creation of strong passwords
  • The use of storage devices from outside
  • Keeping login details confidential

Planning And Time

Protecting a system against cyberattacks requires planning and time. Organizations need to identify the risks and where they lie to find the best strategies to safeguard it.

Organizations can assess a company’s data, where it comes from, the storage, and the transfer. Are there systems that protect the data sufficiently? Does the company store the data securely?

Has the company ever faced any threats through the digital marketing channels?

If the employees use their own phones and computers at work, the company might need to find ways to ensure that does not compromise the security framework put in place.

Departments need to work together to ensure there is no responsibility gap.

Although the digital marketing team can work independently, the slackness in other departments might affect the cybersecurity efforts of the marketing department.

Conclusion

There is always a risk of an attack. A digital marketing team needs to keep track of all internal and external risks to ensure the organization is safe at all times.

Overcoming cybersecurity challenges requires that a company seals all the loopholes in the software systems and the weak links in people.

Weak links in the software and hardware systems can be reduced by always updating the systems while weak links in people are best dealt with through education.

In case of a cyberattack, a company needs to have a backup of data and a cyber attack disaster management plan and strategy. Such a plan can involve notifying the customers immediately when the attack occurs.

Acodez is a renowned website development and Emerging Technology Services company in India. We offer all kinds of web design and web development services to our clients using the latest technologies. We are also a leading digital marketing company providing SEO, SMM, SEM, Inbound marketing services, etc at affordable prices. For further information, please contact us.

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Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan

Rithesh Raghavan, Co-Founder, and Director at Acodez IT Solutions, who has a rich experience of 16+ years in IT & Digital Marketing. Between his busy schedule, whenever he finds the time he writes up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development. All thanks to his master brain behind the gleaming success of Acodez.

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