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For digital marketers, it's crucial to grasp and implement these fundamental cybersecurity practices to safeguard the sensitive data you handle.
When we’re talking about something as dynamic as digital marketing, discussing cybersecurity policies is a must.
Finances and marketing go hand-in-hand: both are targets for cybercriminals.
So, if you’re a digital marketer, it’s time to understand and start employing basic cybersecurity measures to protect the sensitive information you operate.
Cybercrime hit a cost of $8 trillion in 2023, and it will continue to grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.
This suggests that there’s no better time to learn about cybersecurity than now.
1. Strong Passwords Are Crucial
Whether you’ve gotten your first job in the field or you’re an experienced digital marketer, you’ll deal with passwords on a daily basis. There are hundreds of them for all kinds of social media platforms and other tools you need to do a great job.
This is precisely why you need to have a strong password policy for each account you have to manage. The numbers suggest that 30% of internet users experienced a data breach because of their weak passwords.
Analytics, email, and social media: some of these platforms already contain your credit card information for the next time you want to make a purchase.
And with this, let’s not forget video content, which has become prominent over the past couple of years. So, if you are implementing a cross-channel video strategy, it can mean that you will have both sides of the same coin: more leads and more hackers paying attention to what you’re doing.
Digital marketers such as yourself should be very careful when dealing with password security, especially if the accounts they manage are getting more spotlight online.
2. Two-factor authentication Is A Must
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a straightforward tool that provides us with an additional layer of security online. Instead of trusting your passwords to be enough, you need to manually authorize a login attempt using another device, like your phone, to access your accounts.
One of the most common ones is through an SMS: you will get a code on your phone after you enter the password to your accounts. So, even if someone cracked your password, they won’t be able to authorize themselves.
For this, you can download apps like Google Authenticator. This software generates codes you must write down in a certain amount of time, along with your password, to access the account.
As a digital marketer, you know how difficult it is to protect yourself by relying solely on passwords. Enabling 2FA can be game-changing, and it will help you avoid phishing attacks more effectively. Even if the password is compromised, you will be safe.
3. Be Aware Of Social Engineering Attempts
When you have to implement email marketing strategies and welcome emails, you need to understand how social engineering tactics work. This will prevent you from getting your emails flagged down as spam or, worse, phishing.
But what is social engineering?
It’s when hackers start manipulating people into giving out personal information to use it against them. We’re talking about things like credit card information or other online payment details.
Cybercriminals know how to manipulate human psychology, prompting individuals to click on malicious links and enter their passwords, financial information, and email addresses. Research shows that in the first quarter of 2023, nearly six in ten employee-reported e-mails had the intention of credential theft.
Welcome emails are an entry point for a budding relationship between a brand and the audience. As a digital marketer, you should be focusing on two things: good content and the security of potential leads.
When you design and implement strong authentication methods and educate people about phishing risks, you’re helping everyone in the business and avoiding cybercriminals. Of course, you must invest in your education first.
There are online programs that help you update your knowledge and education, simulating real-life scenarios where phishing might happen. That’s how you will learn to identify them effectively.
4. Update Your Software With Regularity
When you dedicate the time to updating software and other apps, you’re investing time into your digital assets by protecting them from cyber threats. Every software has vulnerabilities, which can be exploited without you even realizing it.
Developers generally try to release updates that contain security patches destined to deal with the new threats online, which are evolving at an alarming rate.
Plugins have to be updated as well, especially on your computer. There are thousands of unsecured, compromised plugins out there, and these are an entry point for unauthorized access, especially when we’re dealing with a content management system or CMR.
But, beyond security, updates are also great at improving the performance of the software and adding new features. This will also better your experience, aside from the obvious benefit of using safe software.
When you’re in the digital marketing business, failing to update the software can cause financial damage and reputational issues. Data breaches aren’t easily detectable, but the repercussions are very real.
5. Apply The Best Practices For Data Encryption
Data encryption is fundamental when we’re dealing with sensitive information. It is especially true if we’re sending it online and if there is a risk of unauthorized access.
Let’s talk more about data encryption.
Data encryption is basically about turning plaintext data into different, unreadable text that only people with the right tools to decipher it can read. Encryption happens when you have to pay for something online and when you’re exchanging personal messages with others.
Just as you wouldn’t want someone to be able to read the information on your credit card, you wouldn’t want them to be snooping around your conversations, right?
If you’re involved in digital marketing, data encryption is even more important: it can impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines like Google consider the safety of websites when it comes to ranking them in their search results.
If your website has a solid encryption protocol, like the use of HTTPS, you are contributing to a safer digital world. Google has explicitly declared that they consider HTTPS when ranking a website. Taking this into consideration, along with creating helpful content, will help you to get the top results organically.
If that happens and you’re on the first page of Google’s search–congratulations! You’ll be getting a lot more leads, your business will be visible to your target audience, and you will be ahead of your competition.
6. Keep Your Wi-Fi Secure
Cybercriminals tend to exploit the vulnerabilities of unsecured Wi-Fi with one intention: getting sensitive data into their hands. We’re talking personal information, financial details, things you wouldn’t want other people to have in their hands.
Failing to implement security measures means that hackers will try to capture and analyze your data as it travels through the network.
Pay attention, especially to public Wi-Fi networks, because the risk is even greater, as a lot of people connect to them every day. These can be found in cafes, universities, airports, and hotels.
A good solution to protect your sensitive data when on public Wi-Fi is getting a Virtual Private Network.
A VPN builds an encrypted connection between the user’s device and the server and transmits the data through there, keeping it away from hackers. In 2023, 70% of users used VPNs daily or almost daily. This speaks of the high efficiency of the software, especially when working in a public spot.
Including those who used VPNs 4-5 times a week, 77% of people used VPNs for work nearly every day.
VPNs are great, not only because you’re safe from potential threats but because you will also benefit from these advantages:
- Your IP address will be hidden.
- You’ll be anonymous online.
- You will not be tracked by anyone.
- You can get a VPN for Apple TV, for example, in addition to your work devices.
7. Train Employees About Cybersecurity
Cyberthreats evolve quickly; that’s why we have so many tools to keep our private information safe. And yet, hackers create new malware all the time.
You and your coworkers need to understand how cyberattacks happen to prevent them from ever happening in the first place.
When people invest in cybersecurity, things pay off. You won’t have to deal with so many security emergencies, and the information will empower you to navigate new threats more efficiently.
Cybersecurity awareness should be a part of the company’s culture, not just something you do to avoid losing money or reputation with your clients.
Find online courses on cyber safety to take, both for you and your colleagues. Over the years, it’s become increasingly imperative to learn how to keep important information safe at work.
8. Conduct Security Audits Regularly
When you have access to a lot of confidential information at your workplace, you need to conduct regular security audits to identify and deal with abnormalities and vulnerabilities.
Consider these few tips:
- Write down a checklist of steps to conduct a security audit and update it based on new threats online.
- Consider hiring experts to conduct thorough audits once or twice a year to rule out anything you might have missed.
- Write down an emergency protocol where people know how to report an incident and how to deal with it quickly.
When you remember these aspects and you work on preventative measures, you save yourself a world of pain and financial losses. A business with a bad security incident can suffer the loss of reputation and trust with the clients.
9. Plan An Incident Response
Organizations tend to rely on technology more and more, which means that data breaches and other kinds of cyberattacks are a possibility. Having an incident response plan is one way to deal with when something goes wrong. An incident response plan is a great strategy for preventing cyberattacks.
In an incident response plan, you have precise steps to take in the case of an emergency. Everything should be detailed there, from identifying the threat to finding an answer on how to recover the lost information. This plan is meant to minimize the damage, and it plays a crucial role in keeping the business afloat.
It also acts as a learning resource for new employees who must integrate into the company’s culture. In that document, they have insights into approaching something as dangerous as a cyberattack.
10. Consider Legal Compliance And Privacy
Digital marketers must be well educated about legal compliance and the privacy of their company or clients’ sensitive information. It has been said before, but it bears repeating: protecting sensitive information is fundamental for every business with a social media or online presence.
It’s crucial not only because of the loss of trust or economic losses but because it can have legal consequences.
As a digital marketer, you need to be familiar with data protection regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States. These two documents deal with matters like collection, processing, and storage of personal data, and they aim to keep a transparent policy where the responsible people can be held accountable.
To sum up
When it comes to digital marketing, cybersecurity is an intrinsic part of it.
By educating yourself and other colleagues, staying proactive, and implementing simple yet effective security measures, you can protect your safety online and enjoy everything good about digital marketing free of worries.
Keep your business and your information free from hackers with the tips we provided you above.
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