Cybersecurity has become an integral aspect of commerce as more and more businesses establish their presences online. With this exodus of industries into cyberspace, marketers are also given increasing responsibility in handling and safeguarding their customers’ data.
With the increase in online activity comes a proportionate increase in cybersecurity attacks. Data loss due to leaks and breaches are becoming more common, and more expensive. If you’re a marketer, here’s what you need to know about data loss and how to prevent it.
1. Understand growing industry data losses
According to the Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM for 2021, the average cost of a data loss incident rose to $4.24 million from $3.86 million in 2020. More importantly, the burden of a data loss is worse for small and mid-sized businesses who do not have the resources to set up a proper security infrastructure. This also translates to about 38 percent of business shares going down the drain in terms of system downtime and rebuilding customer relationship trust.
This necessitates the adoption of data loss prevention best practices, and it also applies to marketers. As an important part of brand management and awareness efforts for most companies, marketers are often privy to sensitive client information on one side and customer data and behavior on the other.
2. Only use secure networks when working
Although you have no control over the client’s cybersecurity setup, you can make sure that risks and vulnerabilities won’t come from your end–and maybe influence them to do the same. While this sounds like it should be a given, you’d be surprised at how complacent people can be when using the internet.
Usually, working in an office comes with industry-standard security measures. However, since a lot are working from their homes, this opens up a wide range of opportunities for attackers to exploit and eventually intrude into your systems. One good practice for working at home is to set your WiFi network to use WPA2 encryption and hide your network so people won’t even try to access it since it’s virtually undetectable.
Another important practice is to avoid using public hotspots, especially if you’re using your device for work. You can never tell when an attacker could be “listening” to other devices in the same network. Instead of connecting to WiFi networks in public places, use your own mobile WiFi or use your smartphone as a hotspot then connect your other devices.
3. Employ the latest security measures
From office infrastructure, device security, down to web design and development, make sure that you always use the latest technology available. For example, some websites today allow for quick customer access by letting them send you a message, right from your website.
It begins from something simple as a password manager. This is usually a third-party app, although it’s also available with web browsers like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. It saves your passwords for frequently-visited websites, saving you the chore of having to remember and manually type them every time you need access.
If your marketing business uses a website to showcase your work and offer your services, make sure that you follow secured web design practices and standards. Depending on the industry you work for, you might be liable under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–which also applies for websites that collect. personal health information. Similarly, there are generally available technologies such as having an SSL certification for your website or implementing multiple layers of encryption precisely for security purposes.
4. Collect only the data you need
Data collection sounds like something that won’t hurt even in excess, especially since you can’t tell when you might need them. However, the more data you collect from your target means bigger risks should you fall victim for a cybersecurity issue. This is why as marketers, you should clearly define what data is to be collected, where it will be used, and how to collect, store, and transmit these pieces of information. With the right preparation, you can take enough steps to ensure safety and minimize risks of data loss in the future.
A good example is suggesting customers for regular updates or including them into the mailing lists. Usually, the name and the email address should be enough. There’s no need to learn their birthdays or their address, which could offer clues into sensitive information such as social media accounts or passwords. Also, aside from reduced customer data risks, you also reduce the data clutter from your side–saving you otherwise avoidable expenses on storage, either physical drives or cloud storage subscriptions.
5. Develop a data loss response plan
Although it sounds unnatural for your marketing practice, data loss is becoming more and more of a risk as businesses digitize their files and their business practices. Since these events can’t be entirely prevented or avoided, the best you can do is to make sure that you and your company are prepared to handle a data loss event should one unfortunately happen. With a contingency plan in place, you can minimize the potential damage you’ll have to endure.
Usually, data loss response plans for marketers involve immediately changing all the passwords for the concerned business accounts and reporting compromised accounts to the proper authority. You should also consider keeping your clients in the loop, especially if they’re also at risk of being targeted or if their data has already leaked. Then, it is important to identify the root cause of the data loss and make sure that this doesn’t happen again. If it’s necessary to bring in cybersecurity experts to boost your defenses or apply for a cyber security insurance policy, then you might want to consider these options.
Aside from delivering quality content and strategies, marketers are now partially responsible for a client company’s reputation by making sure that they do not open themselves up to cybersecurity threats. As a responsible marketer, it’s your task to keep everything that’s entrusted to you safe and secure. Not only does it save you from the risks and problems that come with data losses but also establishes your reputation as a trustworthy business partner as well.
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