Why is Digital Security Important?

Data breaches, cyber threats and digital security issues are on the rise — 40% year-over-year! 2016 data breaches hit an all-time record high, and it wasn’t just the Business and Financial sectors.

This trend will likely not abate as more points of vulnerability are materializing almost daily - IoT, wearables, smart technology and so on.

Did you know that a high profile casino had it’s high roller database compromised? The point of access for the security breach was a thermometer on a fish tank!

Someone Call I.T.!

The truth is that it really isn’t just an IT issue. Marketing teams have to bone up in terms of digital security now more than ever.

The greatest opportunity to improve your organization’s digital security has to do with the human factor. Hackers aren’t the #1 threat — it’s your own people. Carelessly lazy best practices, like sloppy passwords and accessing sensitive logins on unsecure, public networks are some of the biggest problems organizations face.

Hackers are a threat for certain, but it’s in how they gain access that is of notable concern. Integrations with 3rd party vendor can present serious risk. For example, it was a 3rd party system that allowed hackers to breach Target.

What SaaS tool, or 3rd party ‘bolt on’ component is your marketing team using that could be lead to a security breach?

When it comes to the easiest and fastest entry points to sensitive data, according to research by Thycotic, it is access via a privileged account. What is that? It's any account that has network admin access or access to a larger portion of your network? All it takes is the skeleton key and your entire system can be exposed.

Why Should Marketing Care?

There’s been a shift underway in terms of budgets. Marketing is getting more and more of the money. Marketing is also becoming more technology driven and marketers are becoming responsible for more, and more data systems.

They’ve traditionally relied on IT to cover them when things go wrong, but now Marketing has to know what is happening and how. There needs to be a more regular and systematic approach to IT and Marketing working together, instead of the shadow IT approach.

Digital Security Best Practices for Marketers

  1. Marketers need to bone up on technology and security fundamentals. They need to understand the different threats, and which ones their organization is most vulnerable to. They need to understand the different components of technology in the systems they are working with, the vendors they are working with and how those technology bolt on to their systems — and they need help from their IT counterparts. For example, if you’re using a system to curate and publish content, how is that accessed? Who has access? Is there a risk to digital security?
  2. Marketing and IT need to come together and collaborate on a regular basis. Not just quarterly, and not just for putting out fires.
  3. Transparency is critical. When there is a breach, come forward and talk about it. Be transparent — what happened, when it happened, what you know about it, what you’re doing about it & how customers can stay safe.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is set to have an impact on how many organization approach digital security and will likely drive compliance where maybe there has been a general laziness.

Here’s a great episode from the eMarketer podcast “Behind the Numbers”. It will covers off some alarming stats in terms of digital security and how Marketers can take steps to make sure they're not putting their organizations at risk.

What Marketers Should Know About Digital Security

What kinds of cyber threats are out there? Why should marketers care about digital security, and what can they do about it?

Main photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash