Many professionals will automatically equate the top cybersecurity threats to well-known sectors such as banking, cloud-based big data storage, and governmental agencies. However, it is wise to highlight that digital marketing is equally at risk. The dangers are indeed very real when we consider that cybercrime is currently estimated to cost businesses around the globe a staggering 16.4 billion dollars each and every day. This equates to no less than 684 million dollars each hour!
As digital marketing platforms and techniques can often serve as the “gateways” by which malicious entities gain access to proprietary information, it only stands to reason that overcoming potential threats should represent one of the paramount concerns of any organization. Let’s, therefore, examine some professional recommendations to adopt sooner as opposed to later. Even a single attack can cause devastating results if left unchecked.
Understanding the Types of Cyberattacks Within the Digital Marketing Sector
Before moving on to discuss basic strategies, it is wise to briefly list some of the most common cyberattacks to truly appreciate the scope of the problem at hand. Here are primary examples:
- Malware infections
- Redirects and/or browser hijacks
- Illegally accessing private data (such as phishing)
- Identity theft
We can now begin to see that any type of strategy intended to thwart the top cybersecurity threats will need to be quite comprehensive if it is hoped to succeed. So, what do the experts have to say?
Adopting the Correct Approaches to Email
It is a well-known fact that email referral marketing campaigns are some of the most powerful ways to create a strong and loyal client base while building a solid brand identity over time. Unfortunately, Malware bundles can often be delivered within what might otherwise appear to be an innocuous message. This is often accomplished by hackers who are masquerading as a trusted company.
This is commonly known as phishing and the standard goal is to convince an individual to provide his or her personal details (such as credit card number). Email marketing teams should therefore be aware of how to spot a suspicious message (the presence of bad grammar, strange attachments, and messages requesting login details). An ounce of prevention will go a long way in this day and age.
The Growing Risk of WordPress Platforms
More than 455 million websites currently employ WordPress as their primary content platform. Although the benefits of WordPress cannot be overstated, it is just as important to realize that certain vulnerabilities may increase the chances of encountering a cyberattack.
There are several reasons for this observation. Outdated software may be to blame. However, it is much more common for third-party plugins to contain malware or other viral threats. Other issues that are often associated with WordPress include:
- DDoS and SQL attacks
- Exploiting weak passwords
- Using “back doors” to enter malicious code into WordPress scripts
How can these scenarios be avoided? The first step is to ensure that WordPress updates are implemented as soon as they become available, as these will often include security patches. Avoid unknown third-party plugins whenever possible and ensure that all passwords are exceedingly strong. The use of two-factor authentication is likewise recommended, as this dramatically decreases the chances that a hacker will be able to gain access to the site.
The Rising Tide of Social Media Marketing Cybercrimes
Another one of the top security threats involves social media marketing. This only stands to reason when we remember that nearly half of the global population uses these accounts on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many users are unaware of the risks that may be present.
This is particularly dangerous if hackers are able to gain access to a business-related account. They can compromise sensitive information, pose as the business in question, steal information from customers, and even create extremely offensive posts in an attempt to destroy the reputation of the online firm in question. In fact,
These situations above can often be compounded in the event that multiple marketing specialists access a single account. The chances are much higher that login details may become stolen. Of course, this makes it even more difficult to track the primary source. One of the best ways to counter such risks is to employ an effective social media management tool. This bundle will provide stakeholders with the centralized oversight required to determine if any suspicious activity is taking place. Once again, marketing teams should also be made aware of the threats involved.
Customer Relationship Management
The main intention of any customer relationship management (CRM) platform is to make business operations easier and more straightforward. This is why it is ironic that these very same tools may actually be able to sabotage the operations of an entire company. This arises from the fact that CRM bundles often represent the primary “hub” of ongoing operations. They contain copious amounts of data such as customer names, payment details, product information, and login identifications.
In the event that a serious data breach occurs, a business could suffer irreparable harm. We are not only speaking about losing money in this case but rather its reputation as a whole. This is why knowing how to eliminate these top cybersecurity threats is crucial. Here are five unique methods to embrace:
- Businesses should seek to strengthen their overall IT infrastructure.
- Only reliable CRM vendors should be chosen.
- All important and proprietary data should be backed up within the cloud.
- Risk assessment audits need to be carried out on a regular basis.
- Only use extremely secure passwords (and never share these with unauthorized personnel).
In the event that legacy CRM software is still being used, it is normally better to upgrade to more modern platforms. These offer much more robust firewalls.
Avoid the BYOD Trap
The prevalence of mobile access for business purposes is largely on the rise thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). While this may benefit hybrid work environments, it can also pose its own set of risks. Companies which adopt the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy may be more likely to suffer an attack. The device itself may be stolen. It could be shared amongst more than one user. Third-party apps might also install malware; leading to the situations outlined in the first section of this article.
So, management and stakeholders must create clear rules governing how personal devices can be used within the workplace. In a perfect world, they should be prohibited entirely. In the event that they are necessary to carry out certain marketing operations, they should be equipped with robust firewalls and effective antivirus software programs. They could also be linked into a centralized server so that any breaches will be spotted immediately.
Thwarting the Top Cybersecurity Threats to Digital Marketing
Unfortunately, the chances are high that cybersecurity risks will only increase and become more varied in the near future. This is the reason why all businesses must remain one step ahead of the digital curve if they ever expect to avoid serious consequences.
Furthermore, the methods of addressing the top cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving. What might have worked perfectly well in the past could be redundant today and outdated tomorrow. Not only is this a concern for IT professionals, but it also should worry anyone who is directly involved within the digital marketing sector.
This is an article by Milica Vojnic. She is a Digital Marketing Executive at Wisetek, who are global leaders in IT Asset Disposition, Data Destruction, & IT Reuse.