Although we may be slightly biased, digital marketing is the way of the future. Not only are businesses waking up to the power of the digital space, but now over 78% of users are conducting product and service research online. Digital marketing can be considered a new and innovative endeavour, where customers can be approached and understood in ways like never before. It includes using the internet, mobile, social media, search engines, and the endless other channels available as a highly effective way to reach consumers. Spread across so many digital entities that are all interconnected, digital marketing is the predominant flow and extension of online e-commerce. Unfortunately, while this proves just how powerful digital marketing can be, it also puts its endeavours at high risk of security threats. However, businesses are not the only ones enticed by the powers of the digital world. Unfortunately, scammers are too. Considering digital marketing is much more dynamic than traditional marketing, privacy and security concerns are too. Regarding digital marketers, the security concerns are much the same as for anyone who exists in the online space. However, the expected reputation marketers must uphold for brands means these concerns are of a much higher stake. While cybersecurity threats tend to focus on more data-rich businesses and consumers, cybercriminals do not discriminate. Despite how much data your business has stored, you are at risk of privacy and security breaches if you exist in the digital space. Understandably, security concerns should be a prominent concern of any digital marketer that doesn’t want their business to take a significant and unfortunate hit. So, what are the most harmful security threats, and how can you prevent your business from being targeted and keep yourself and your audience safe?
It is essential not to let your email efforts slip your mind when it comes to protecting your business. Despite its ‘old school’ quality, email marketing is an integral part of most businesses' digital marketing strategy.The general sentiment from 80% of marketers is that they would rather give up social media than stop utilising email marketing. With four billion daily email users and an average of 4,200% ROI, it is easy to understand why. However, it is because of its effectiveness, cost-effective nature, and popularity that it poses great potential for security threats. In addition, the significant ability of emails to generate business revenue and hold customer information also makes them a major target for hackers. As a result, both businesses and consumers are vulnerable to any damages. Phishing attacks are not uncommon, where cybercriminals send fraudulent messages with the intention to trick users into downloading malware or revealing sensitive information. Hackers can also use company email accounts to send spam or virus filled emails, resulting in your site being blacklisted or blocked, destroying your entire email campaign. Ultimately, the Internet Crime Complaint Centre deems email marketing security breaches the costliest attacks, with over 19,369 complaints and an estimated $1.8 billion loss throughout 2020. During this time, email malware attacks increased by a drastic 600% compared to 2019, indicating the importance of securing your email practices.
To prevent privacy and security breaches within your email marketing efforts, you should implement a few vital practices. It is essential to prevent customers from inadvertently sharing information with a scammer or allowing criminals to override your email account. Formally putting authentication processes in place is essential for blocking harmful or fraudulent uses of email, including phishing and spam, making emails less prone to becoming victims of cyberattacks. These practices include sender policy frameworks (SPF), DomainKey Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). While this can be considered basic media literacy, the importance of never opening emails from unknown senders cannot be stressed enough. This gateway to security breaches and is a simple measure to protect yourself from detrimental breaches. It is also recommended that you verify that the ISP and servers are reliable and responsible and the security software tools you have installed properly monitor your emails and ensure encryption. Another quick, simple, yet effective way to prevent emails with hidden malware is to set up inbound filters and include your email systems in network security audits. While these are essential measures to protect your business, it is ideal for helping users identify what differentiates your emails from phishing attempts to protect their security by including identifying factors in your own emails.
Social media has been on a rapid trajectory over the past decade and is only continuing to rise, with the number of global social media users expected to reach 3.43 billion in 2023. The large user base combined with live feedback presents social media as a highly effective marketing tool, often used to develop and maintain brand image. However, like anything popular on the internet, it is also highly prone to security breaches and cybercrime. Hackers thrive on hijacking social media accounts, creating confusion, and scamming consumers in more ways than one. This includes likejacking, fake giveaways, malware, affiliate link scams, fake accounts and followers, phishing attempts and even identity theft. The list is alarming and can ultimately lead to a complete distrust from audiences, modifications in the company profile, offensive statements, and spam. An effective social media presence is a vital asset in this digital age, making it essential you protect your account.
Passwords are not emphasised for no reason, as having a business social media account hacked can have very detrimental impacts. So much so that 33% of victims of social media inflicted cybercrime have stopped doing business with the companies that allowed for their data or credentials to be leaked. With a shocking 90% of internet users being concerned about their password being hacked, it makes it important you update your password every two to three months, use strong passwords, and employ two-factor authentication for extra security. However, passwords aren’t the only feature of social media platforms to secure your account. Many profile and account settings determine your visibility and security online, which should also be reviewed every two to three months to ensure you are aware of your social media presence. This includes checking for unknown trusted devices and removing them if they exist. To be generally savvy online, it is ideal to limit the amount of information you show publicly on your profile and consider the repercussions of any personal or sensitive information you do share. For extra security, especially for businesses, you should install social media monitoring tools for additional peace of mind.
Content Marketing (Search)
Search marketing strategies are extremely popular tactics to gain an online presence. In addition, the search engine realm is rather extensive, making it a great way to reach a broad audience and enhance your digital marketing efforts.While the millions of daily users make it a prime opportunity to reach audiences, it also means it is the perfect chance for cybercriminals to strike and create privacy and security breaches. Content management systems (CMS) are popular tools that help manage online marketing content. WordPress is one of the most popular tools used. However, it is also the most commonly hacked CMS. Hackers now understand the platform inside and out and know exactly what it takes to compromise your site and cause some damage. If your site is successfully hacked, the criminals can easily distribute malware to users and rapidly destroy your reputation as a brand.
While these scenarios and statistics sound rather alarming, it doesn’t mean you should avoid CMS like WordPress at all costs. However, it does mean that it’s imperative to integrate security features when using these tools. Installing security plug-ins and updating them regularly is vital to fending off any vulnerabilities within your site. As it can be rather difficult to remember to update every software element, enabling automatic updates can ensure you stay optimally secure with minimal effort. While these plug-ins are typically quite reliable, you should still regularly review these extensions and ensure they effectively keep your site safe. If you choose to operate via a CMS, ensure that it is accessible via secure private networks and regularly update passwords with authentication policies enforced for guaranteed security. Visit our blog for more information on choosing the right CMS.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a vital yet delicate aspect of many digital marketing endeavours. It stores, organises, and analyses business contact and customer information and deals with large amounts of valuable data. This automated process of tracking customer relationships and marketing processes helps advance algorithms and improve marketing efforts. However, as this software deals with such personal data, it can be highly detrimental if it were to be breached. If a hacker accesses company CRM software, all sensitive customers and companies could be at the hacker's disposal, with unlimited opportunities for them to exploit and use it against your marketing efforts and consumer privacy.
First and foremost, when choosing CRM software, it is essential to take extra note of the security features as not all software offers the same level of protection. CRM is often one of the highest costs in software for businesses, making it essential you put your money to good use. This means choosing the right software protected with a strong password and limiting its access to a few people. While this software is there for you to rely on, you need to enforce your own strong company policies and take responsibility for your security protection.
Ultimately, digital marketing can truly enhance your business goals and help you stay ahead of the competition. However, it is important not to forget the downsides of the digital world. As digital enthusiasts, cybercrime is more common than we would like to admit, making it ever so important you know how to protect your business and consumers from its inevitability. Protecting your business across all digital platforms is a surefire way to instil confidence in your audience, ensuring them that data privacy is a high priority. However, we’re not oblivious to the fact that covering all bases can seem slightly overwhelming. For more information on keeping yourself secure in a digital environment, contact Anchor Digital today. The team is passionate about advancing your marketing goals while helping you stay safe online.