When people think of marketing, the first things that come to mind tend to revolve around campaigns, emails, and social media ads. We say that this is just the tip of the iceberg of the marketing ecosystem. A part that we often don’t see is cybersecurity.
Have you ever wondered where marketers find data & information? We all know that marketing is about choosing an audience and creating content that resonates with them. The missing part is that we often need to dig in piles of data to truly understand what our target market likes.
What do marketers do with data?
Every year, marketers in Canada collect extensive amounts of data about their customers. These types of data can range from a customer’s name, email address, and contact information, to how often a customer purchases a specific item to how often they interact with ads. These same ads can also be to attract talent for the HR professionals.
Through these data types, marketers can piece together bits of information that paint a better picture of their customers. Marketers use these data types to create a better customer experience and ensure the success of their campaigns or sale. Very valuable, this information is often targeted by hackers for money.
Every marketer needs to understand basic concepts of cybersecurity and the need to stay safe online, especially when they’re dealing with valuable data. Data is very important to many businesses hence why you need to be careful.
What’s the link between pandemic & cybersecurity?
Did you know that the pandemic had led to an increase in data breaches. In the last quarter of 2020, Statista found that internet users experienced nearly 125 million cybercrime incidents, like data breaches and malware attacks. According to cybersecurity company UpGuard, the average data breach costs $4.35 million in 2022, a 2.6 percent increase from the 2021 cost of $4.24 million.
Given their unique position, marketers can do a lot to steer the ship and help businesses make more informed decisions about issues beyond marketing. Let us guide you with the ultimate cybersecurity cheatsheet for marketers.
1. Collect wisely for cybersecurity
While gathering more information about customers is tempting, it’s not always safe to do so, and not always necessary. Consider what you really need for your campaign. For instance, if you’re trying to build your email database, is it worth asking for your customer’s physical address?
It might seem harmless to ask for more, but it isn’t. Collecting what you really need lowers the impact should a data breach occur.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data protection initiatives have also educated consumers on their data rights and privacy rights. If certain types of data are essential to you, you can always collect more data and information about your customers once you’ve built a better relationship with them.
Make it a point to share with customers how your company intends to use their data and how the company will handle its customer’s data. By being honest about data usage, marketers can build a better relationship with their customers and create trust.
2. Use the safest methods of gathering customer data
From the start to the end of the data collection process, any type of user data should be collected and handled with utmost care. Are you creating a survey to gather customer interest? Always make it a point to research and carefully consider the type of survey software you intend to use.
In 2020, phishers using legitimate SurveyMonkey domains sent malicious emails in the hopes of collecting Office 365 emails and passwords. The phishers used SurveyMonkey because the famous email distribution platform can bypass spam filters. Though what happened wasn’t SurveyMonkey’s fault per se, it shows that not all tools are created equal.
Make a point to look into how data is stored and whether it’s worth separating them into different cloud storage facilities. Splitting up your data will reduce the possibility of hackers gaining access to all the data you have. Consider splitting payment information from basic information as well as having them encrypted.
3. Limit access to specific data types
Google Analytics is a top-rated tool used by content marketers and inbound marketers to measure marketing efforts such as Instagram ads. The downside is that on Google Analytics, it’s easy to download CSV files of datasets that someone can later upload elsewhere. Thankfully, Google Analytics provides ways to manage access and restrict specific datasets to prevent them from being accidentally exposed.
Google Analytics isn’t the only platform that does this. Marketers can also do this with a variety of tools and softwares. Limiting access to specific data types can also reduces the possibility of a data breach. In other words, should a data breach occur, make sure you restrict access to your data.
4. Provide cybersecurity training to executives
As mentioned above, user data is precious and should always be treated as such. Implementing basic cybersecurity protocols and data handling procedures will help protect user data.
For instance, you can implement rules requiring all executives to use password managers to store and generate new passwords for company-wide accounts. Most password managers also allow users to share passwords securely, preventing passwords from being leaked accidentally.
All employees in a company should be armed with basic cybersecurity knowledge. Topics should include:
- Tips on how to spot suspicious emails
- What to do if they’ve received a suspicious email
- How to create strong passwords.
- Guidance on storing & managing sensitive information
5. Data breach contingency plan
While not everything is under your control, you can greatly reduce your cybersecurity risks. Make sure you develop an appropriate cybersecurity policy, and a data breach contingency plan.
Following a data breach, many customers will expect an explanation from a company to understand what happened. This is where a strong communication team can work on explaining in the most honest & concise way what happened to reassure customers. Trust is very important in these moments.
Beyond that, we recommend changing all passwords and find where the breach occurred to set up a system blocking future similar threats. We hope this guide was useful and served as a good cybersecurity strategy for your business. Marketing and cybersecurity don’t mingle often but they go hand-in-hand.