Online marketers are some of the savviest individuals working online. They need to know the nuances of the internet and think outside of the box to reach people and close sales. They work regularly with anonymous individuals and search every last corner for new leads and opportunities.
This is why they need to know everything they can about cybersecurity. As a general rule, they know enough to get by without obvious problems affecting them, but new and complex threats appear every single day. It is impossible to keep up with all of them unless you are a cybersecurity professional, but you can know about the important and often-missed threats with the right sources of information.
Here are a few things that you might have missed when thinking about your online security.
Human Error is the Real Problem
No matter how strong your password is (and it should be strong), nothing can save you if you send your password over as the victim of a phishing scheme. The vast majority of cybersecurity issues and data leaks are caused by human error, and most cybercriminals would much rather find a foolish employee and spend a day or two scamming, than spend months trying to delve into your software’s code.
As a marketer you have a lot on your mind and a lot of people to talk to, so sometimes actively thinking about cybersecurity can be a hindrance. That is okay, so long as the best habits, such as knowing what a phishing email or a scam looks like and keeping your tools up to date, become second nature to you. Just make sure that when you’re giving out data of any reasonable importance that you think about it first. Those few seconds can save you hours to days of recovery later.
Your Smartphone is a Vulnerability
Regardless of whether you work for yourself or someone else, online marketing rarely stays just in the office. Sometimes you need to meet potential clients or contacts out in the world or deal with urgent business when you travel. Your smartphone is the best tool to handle such matters. Unfortunately, once you use your smartphone to take care of business, it becomes a cybersecurity and data leak risk that must be protected.
It is generally recommended that online marketers protect their smartphones and the data contained on them much like they protect their laptops or desktops. A stolen phone could lead to months of work lost and compromised client data. Install some protective apps and plugins, make sure that you are using a lock screen, and have a plan in case your phone is lost or stolen. Try to clear data on your device when it’s no longer needed. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because you’re using a different device than you’re used to.
Public Networks Are a Major Risk
Related to the smartphone issue is the threat posed by public networks that you’d use at a café or the airport. While you might have heard that they’re not too private, they are especially dangerous for marketers due to the sheer number of accounts and communications they send and receive at all times. Your device might even use public networks without your knowledge, which is a major risk due to the hackers that will intercept communications and your account information. This quickly leads to data leaks and account theft.
To protect yourself against this unique threat it is best to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is a service that will connect your device (smartphone, computer, tablet, etc.) to an offsite server over an encrypted connection, taking the risks of public networks out of the equation. It also can be used as a marketing tool due to the fact that it bypasses regional restrictions and government censorship, giving you access and anonymity you otherwise wouldn’t have. It is absolutely worth the investment you or your company put into it.
Sometimes You Can Get Hit from Inside Your Organisation
Online marketers mostly work with the outside, and therefore see outside threats and scams often. Yet if you work closely with others or as part of an organisation, then you can find that other people’s mistakes can jeopardise the results of your own marketing efforts. If you use shared cloud services and rely on other people’s files, you should question what could happen if those files were lost. If you work partially through shared accounts, the weakest entry point negates any other measures you put in place.
Talk to your coworkers or colleagues to see how they handle cybersecurity. Make suggestions as necessary and consider whether convenience is worth the danger inherent in some online arrangements. Having backups of important files and information is a must if you can’t function without those documents. Know the structure of your organisation (if applicable), and see how you can be hurt. Research those vulnerabilities further and how you can protect yourself.
Online security should be your number one priority if you are a marketer who hasn’t thought about it before. If you already know a bit, it’s about time to study up and commit to keeping up. Don’t become the next bad news story or forgotten marketer who lost everything to a cybercriminal. You can do better than that, and you will do better than that. All you need are the right tools and the right mindset.
Have you ever had a security breach of your own to deal with when marketing? Are there any other tips or warnings you want to give to others readers? Please share what you know and think by leaving a reply below, as we’d love to continue this conversation.