Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Randall Obrien
Last updated: September 22, 2019
In an ever growing digital world, digital marketers are faced with numerous challenges. None more so than the risk and prolific rise of cyber attacks.
As such assaults continue to become an everyday threat, the risks stemming from cyber attacks means companies and their customers alike are affected. And as businesses become more aware of the digital world and employ their services through such technologies, the risk grows even greater.Whether is identity theft, phishing attacks, malware, or any of the other potential risks, cyber attacks present a problem in a world becoming ever dependent on internet connectivity. The impacts of such attacks can have negative effects on business growth, profit, and customer confidence. It’s important that businesses understand the risks and security vulnerabilities that may be exploited.For digital marketers, the cybersecurity threat is an all-too-present problem that can impact all aspects of their landscape.
As the value and volume of data continue to grow and assaults become more sophisticated, digital marketers are faced with potentially vulnerable touch points that can be exploited. And as digital marketers work in environments that deals with sensitive information such as customer data and confidential information, it is vital that such risks and threats are understood and assessed.It’s important to address these risks and threats and understand how such challenges can be overcome. Any vulnerabilities will have a wildfire effect, impacting connected environments and resulting in large sums of money being lost and diminished consumer trust. Indeed, cybersecurity must be embedded into all applications, not simply restricted to securing network perimeters.
The following areas are ideal places in which cybersecurity challenges pose a definitive threat and vulnerabilities could be exploited.Content marketingWhen digital marketing teams develop a strategic approach for their content, few consider the security breaches that may occur with such content. But as the purpose of content marketing is to attract and retain a defined audience, examining all touch points and security vulnerabilities are key to limiting the inherent vulnerability of an omnichannel digital landscape.Content marketing does more than just deliver valuable and relevant content. Content marketing is a key aspect of any digital strategy to build consumer trust and showcase authority. It’s a strategic marketing approach that nearly 90 percent of companies employ http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2016_B2B_Report_Final.
pdf.As such, content marketing is vulnerable to cybersecurity challenges, predominantly through their Content Management System (CMS).Businesses big and small all employ the services of a CMS. It allows businesses the ability to rapidly deploy dynamic content, from blog posts to visual assets. But whatever CMS you employ, whether its WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, or any of the other management systems, it is prone to attacks from malicious actors looking to access your customer database and confidential information. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and similar attacks can compromise critical infrastructure systems which may result in a data breach and data exposure. While CMS packages regularly update their software, its important digital marketers maintain best practices principles when utilizing CMS platforms.This includes administrators moderating the creation of user accounts, all server operating systems and software packages are patched and up-to-date, only accessing CMS from secure networks, and enforcing a strong user password policy.
Email marketingIn 2015, Anthem, the second-largest health insurer in the US became the victim of a devastating cybersecurity attack. The investigation into the cyber attack found a phishing email resulted in the theft of personal information on nearly 80 million customers, resulting in a data breach that exceeds the cost of $100 million.The threat of phishing scams is nothing new, but as email marketing continues to remain prevalent, so do the risk of a phishing attack. In fact, as businesses continue to transition into the digital landscape, phishing scams continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, with many targeting small businesses unaware of the security risks of phishing attacks.In terms of email marketing, when it comes to security vulnerabilities, customers tend to be the weakest link. Threat actors continuously find ways to exploit vulnerabilities, and the path of least resistance can often be found through consumers. After all, it only takes one click on a hyperlink or attachment to be opened to open the floodgates to a phishing attack.
So how can digital marketers avoid becoming victims of an email hijacking, resulting in a phishing attack? The first is to ensure your ISP and servers are patched and up-to-date. The second is employing additional software to monitor and provide security for all your email marketing needs. Such tools will ensure the emails you send out to desired audiences are encrypted to diminish the risk of a phishing attack.Social media marketingThe advent of social networks has changed the definition of communication and social interactions. The shift in how companies approach social media has enabled platforms like Facebook and Instagram to become digital storefront in which engagement, acquisitions, and conversions are encouraged. This creates potential vulnerabilities which have been and may continue to be, exploited.Identity theft is the main risk factor and threat when it comes to social media marketing. Whether it’s unauthorized downloads, weak passwords, or sharing of confidential information, social media may be used as a platform to exploit personal data information.
For digital marketing teams, precautions that must be followed should include, enforcing a strong user password policy, monitoring all social media activity, and implementing strict privacy settings.The inherent social sharing aspect found across all social media channels makes it difficult for any business to completely safeguard itself against security challenges. But with that said, fostering a security-aware culture ensures businesses are mindful of such security risks. Digital marketers must be educated and informed of the potential security risks inherent with the use of any social platform.Customer relationship managementCustomer relationship management, or CRM, is a core part of any business and a business critical application that store’s vital business information. The information they store along with the processes they manage makes them a high-risk threat for cyber attacks. As their objective is to identify and acquire customer data, malicious actors will attempt to exploit any vulnerabilities in its systems.
Many companies today employ similar CRM systems to manage their customer databases. This includes systems such as mySAP, Oracle, and web-based software such as Salesforce. And while such systems deploy regular software updates and patches to curtail the risk of cyber attacks, compromises may still occur.Malicious actors have been known to employ security attacks such as DDoS, data breaches, identity theft, and malware.Because a CRM system is a multi-channel platform utilized by various departments such as supply chain, sales, and digital marketing, a responsibility gap often occurs.
This responsibility gap creates a false sense of security, increasing its exposure to cyber attacks. Proactive management across all departments reduces the risk of a compromised weak link, particularly in a connected environment such as a CRM system.Firewalls, security software, the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), and a strong password policy limits the risk of data threats, heading off any potential vulnerabilities present in such a connected environment.
E-CommerceThe high risk and potential vulnerability in e-commerce and m-commerce continue to present a challenge for digital marketers, as such concerns limit conversion opportunities and digital growth.Security flaws and online financial frauds are the primary sources of fear among consumers and two barriers to entry that limit the effectiveness of any digital marketing strategy. As customer acquisition, retention, and growth are the backbones of any marketing strategy, a multiple security strategy approaches is necessary to dismay any fears surrounding the transactional process of any online business.The use of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols and a two-factor authentication process are two ways to dismay such fear. And while a multiple security strategy approaches does not guarantee a secure transactional system, such processes are fundamental providing robust application security.Among digital marketers, education is key to addressing such cybersecurity challenges.
As data is shared and parcelled across various systems, platforms, and connected environments conversations regarding cybersecurity remain paramount. The risks stemming from cyber attacks may potentially besmirch the reputation and trust that a company has built throughout its years in business.Much like a digital campaign, addressing and employing strategies to protect against vulnerabilities and cyber attacks requires a lot of planning, time, and effort. Departments business-wide must align to guard the company against the continued risk of cyber attacks and threats. Aligning departments is instrumental to effectively employ a business-driven security strategy.
In doing so, companies become better prepared and engaged to deal with such challenges.One need only look at examples of previous cybersecurity attacks, as seen through Yahoo, Equifax, and JP Morgan Chase, to understand the importance of employing security measures across all digital activities and platforms. Each company listed above has become victim to cyber attacks. This not only crippled their critical infrastructure systems, resulting in mass data exploitation and millions lost, it also severely hobbled the once-positive perception that the public has had.
The damage compromised more than just financial and customer data. It also damaged their reputation as a reliable and trustworthy firm.