7 Ways to Overcome Cybersecurity Challenges in Digital Marketing

Ignoring your company’s cybersecurity can cost you a lot of money. A report shows that companies are expected to spend as much as $10.5 trillion by 2025 due to cybercrime damages.

One way of fighting against cyberattacks is to comply with the NIS Directive. Industrial Defender wrote a guide about this, stating that every company should have a detailed plan. A good cybersecurity management plan should be able to:

  • Manage cybersecurity risks
  • Protect the system from cyber threats
  • Detect cyber threats, and
  • Minimize the damages

But even then, every employee should also understand protocols regarding cybersecurity. And this also includes digital marketers. With that in mind, your marketing team must be aware of cybersecurity issues in digital marketing. In addition to this, they should also know how to overcome these challenges.

Cybersecurity Threats to Look Out For

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on digital marketing. There has been a 67% increase in cyber threats that trick people into clicking malicious links. These links are related to COVID-19, and upon clicking, it will prompt to download computer viruses.

This means that cybersecurity is becoming more necessary than ever. As employees move to a work-from-home set-up, cybercriminals have taken advantage of this situation.

But before you take action, you should know what you are up against. Below are the different areas of digital marketing where cyber-attacks commonly occur. You should secure these areas for cybersecurity threats.

#1. Email Marketing

Even though most of your marketing operations happen through social media, email is still used for other processes. Believe it or not, but this old communication channel is the most vulnerable when it comes to cybersecurity threats. According to a 2020 report, 94% of malware is received via email.

As more businesses use email as a means for marketing, the risk of phishing attacks increases. And this kind of cyber threat is evolving as time passes by. Findings from this year’s research indicated that businesses lose an average of $14.8m per year due to phishing scams.

#2. Social Media Marketing

Social media is indeed a very effective platform for digital marketing, as they help in increasing web traffic. Facebook, for example, has 2.89 billion active users as of August this year. With that huge number of potential customers, no business owner would want to pass up the opportunity.

But platforms as huge as Facebook always come with great dangers. If you’re not careful, hackers can take hold of one of your accounts and exploit personal data or damage your reputation.

As an example, last 2020, there had been a major hacking incident on Twitter. Scammers were able to gain access to accounts like Uber and Apple. Following this, they sent tweets that encouraged millions of followers to send money to a cryptocurrency account.

#3. Content Marketing

Content marketing is an important component of any marketing strategy for building customer trust. Approximately 90% of businesses use this approach. Built through a content management system (CMS), small and large businesses use CMS to publish their content. Sadly, the system is prone to cybersecurity threats.

WordPress is the most popular CMS used by businesses. And since it is a huge platform, it attracts different kinds of cyber threats.

While there’s nothing wrong with WordPress itself, hackers take advantage of the system’s vulnerabilities. Research has found that 55.9% of WordPress vulnerabilities are plugins. In addition to this, outdated versions of the CMS also put websites at risk of attacks. According to WordPress, only 33.5% of websites are updated to the current version.

#4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Businesses store important business data through CRM. Because of this, they are considered to have high risks for cyber-attacks. Acquiring customer information is the main goal among hackers. And they will attack the system’s vulnerabilities to get this data.

Attacks on the vulnerabilities can be in the form of DDoS attacks, data breaches, and malware.

The CRM system is a multi-channel platform used by multiple departments. Because of this, you can’t prevent the responsibility gap from occurring. This lack of accountability increases the system’s vulnerability to assaults.

How to Overcome Security Threats in Digital Marketing

Anyone outside of your IT department can experience cybersecurity threats. Your digital marketing team is no exception. Since they handle both the company’s and customers’ data, they should be aware of different security threats.

Security System Benefits for Small Business
Illustration by Sanni sahil 🍃 via Dribbble

With that in mind, here are the ways that you can overcome security threats in digital marketing.

#1. Identify Email Threats

While electronic mail platforms have their own way of identifying scams and spam messages, it’s not that reliable. Somehow, emails containing security threats like malware still end up in your inbox. Digital marketers who are not aware of such attacks may accidentally click on the link and doom the system.

Some may even think they are communicating with other marketers in your team. This often leads to unwanted sharing of sensitive data. And no business owner wants this to happen. That’s why they must be fully aware of phishing attacks.

McAfee shared some tips to recognize fake emails, which include:

  • Checking the sender’s email address and the URL they want you to click on
  • Inspecting for incorrect spellings and low-quality images
  • Watching out for requests that include personal information like social security number
  • Logging in on suspicious websites with fake passwords

Remember that 88% of security breaches are due to human error. Humans make mistakes and have difficulties detecting scams. That’s why hackers target them most of the time.

#2. Monitor Traffic in Network and Communication

Communication is one of the most important digital marketing operations. Unfortunately, communicating through the internet poses huge dangers to your company. Hackers can listen to your conversation to obtain sensitive data by attempting to get into your network. And most of the time, they remain undetected.

That’s why traffic on your network should be regularly inspected for security threats and backdoors. What you can do is to:

  • Use WPA2 encryption on your network
  • Obligate the use of proxies and VPNs for employees working from home
  • Use 2-factor authentication as much as possible
  • Block suspicious websites from your company network

#3. Enhance Your Firewall

Marketers are not always responsible for data leaks and security breaches. Most of the time, they are due to firewall failures. Although firewalls are a great help in ensuring network security, it is not 100% reliable.

There are cyber-attacks that firewalls can’t protect your network against, such as:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Use of authorized accounts for malicious intents
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Undetected network vulnerabilities

Strengthening your firewall can help you in these aspects. One way to do this is to install multiple firewalls into your system. This way, hackers will have a hard time bypassing all the firewalls you have in the system. And by the time they do, they will already be detected.

Other than this, you can also:

  • Check for security patches update regularly
  • Strengthen your password and use 2-factor authentication
  • Implement penetration tests regularly

A combination of both software and hardware firewalls can aid in identifying security threats. In addition, you’ll also be keeping your marketers safe from high-level security threats.

#4. Secure Your Business Accounts and Marketing Tools

You can’t take away marketing tools and software from your team. They are important for your marketing campaigns and customer relationship development. Your business will be at risk of cyber threats if you don’t ensure the security of your accounts and tools.

Securing business accounts online is not different from securing personal social media accounts. To do so, you need to:

  • Require your marketers to stay vigilant for phishing and social engineering threats. They can come from emails, comments, friend requests, and personal messages.
  • Use a strong password for your business accounts. In line with this, you should also avoid using the same password for different social media accounts. According to this infographic, 52% of users online still use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use 2-factor authentication, which requires authorized mobile devices or fingerprints for gaining access
  • Implement a strong social media policy. The policy should include the right people who should post on social media accounts and a strategic plan against potential attacks. In addition, you should also provide guidelines for your marketers’ accounts.

On the other hand, you should also ensure that the tools and software of your marketing team are secured. Asking vendors for security certification is the best way to do this.

#5. Protect Your Website Too

Whether you’re using WordPress or not, it’s still vulnerable to attacks. One mistake that business owners make is that they rely too much on the CMS’s built-in security. Although they protect your site in some aspects, they also have flaws in their system. And if you’re not going to add extra security, your site will get hacked.

A hacked website can damage your company greatly. Once hackers have infiltrated your site, your SEO ranking will decrease. And, after some time, so does your revenue.

There are various ways that you can do to avoid this from happening. This include:

  • Updating security patches regularly. For WordPress, make sure that you’re using its latest version.
  • Using HTTPS and SSL
  • Choosing a web host that offers the best security features
  • Limiting employees who have administrative access to the site
  • Having a backup for your website

In addition to this, it’s always helpful to have a website security checklist. This will guide you to your current cybersecurity plans against website attacks.

#6. Secure Your Login Credentials From Session Hijacking

Websites have cookies to track users’ movements when they browse the site. These cookies stay on the user’s browsers even after they leave the website. They are useful in advertising to customers based on their shopping behavior.

But even cookies are used for cybercrime.

Cybercriminals found a way to use cookies to hijack a site. Having the right cookie will give them full access to your site, stealing important data like your password.

Here’s what you can do to avoid this from happening:

  • Use HTTPS and SSL/TLS not just on login pages, but on the entire site.
  • Use a string of random session IDs
  • Practice logging out of websites after accessing them
  • Make sure that you have timed out all inactive sessions
  • Create new cookies with different values

#7. Educate Your Marketing Team About Cybersecurity

No matter how much you spend on security features, if you leave out the human element, hackers can still get you. That’s why phishing is the most common security threat.

Hackers have various ways of gaining access to your system. And this usually involves just sending an email to your marketing team. Once they clicked a malicious link, the hackers can already steal important data.

Having your employees on board with cybersecurity awareness is a huge step towards preventing cyber attacks. But that doesn’t mean you’re just going to hand out training materials and expect them to care. Most of the time, they won’t bother, especially when they don’t feel the need for it.

That’s why they must understand why cybersecurity is important for the company. To do this, you can:

  • Give cybersecurity roles to everyone in the company aside from your IT Department
  • Invest in cybersecurity awareness programs and training
  • Motivate them with rewards

Conclusion

Your IT department should not be the only one concerned with cybersecurity. Since digital marketing is responsible for most of your company’s sensitive information, cybersecurity threats are bound to happen. Because of this, your marketing team should also know how to overcome these challenges.

Data breaches do not only harm your company. They also endanger your customers and business partners.

That’s why your marketing plan should incorporate an effective cybersecurity strategy. You should look into the areas mentioned above for possible threats. By doing so, you won’t have to worry about your company’s security online.

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