You know the drill: it’s another long but exciting day wheeling and dealing for companies that run the gamut of the internet’s offerings.
You’ve been here, there, and everywhere on the interwebs today (and for the last countless years). Your digital savvy is second to none, right?
Well… perhaps not.
A picture is emerging of a surprising lack of awareness about cybersecurity in the marketing world. In fact, research by Deloitte showed that 27 percent of CMOs report a lack of clarity over cybersecurity rules and responsibilities, including where the buck stops.
The issue with this is, as always, focused on data safety. Marketers have access to a client’s sensitive information, and often, that client’s customers’ information, even financial details. Keeping the digital gates firmly closed and data safe is a joint responsibility, and one that marketers need to shoulder too.
With that in mind, here are five easy to implement but essential cybersecurity tips and tools for marketers in 2021.
1. A strong password management system
Despite this being old and boring advice you’ve heard a million times over and over in articles much like this one, it keeps being repeated precisely because it is so necessary. And because even with those million warnings, plenty of passwords are pure rubbish.
Did you know that even in 2021 the most common passwords are things like qwerty, 123456, and iloveyou?
If you’re working with clients, this kind of nonsense just doesn’t cut it. Nor does using the same password for access to multiple clients’ platforms and websites. In fact, it’s asking for trouble.
Instead, use a secure password management system, such as LastPass. A browser extension, LastPass allows you to log-in with a strong master password and manages all your account details. You can also use the app to generate passwords at random that contain plenty of special characters and a good mix of numerals and letters.
2. A VPN for encryption
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, is one of the very best ways you can keep your data and that of your clients safe and secure while getting about your daily business on the internet. What VPNs do is create a private network for you to work or browse on.
The cybersecurity upshot of this private network is that any data in transmission is encrypted, meaning prying eyes can get to it. Once the preserve of shadowy net happenings, VPNs are now viewed as essential safety and security tools.
3. A cybersecurity culture
Whether you work alone, like the lone ranger of digital marketing, or in a collaborative agency team, crafting a strong cybersecurity culture is one of the best ways to keep everyone’s info safe.
In the wilds of 2021’s internet landscape, threats loom at every email, notification, and login process. Being aware of those threats and maintaining up to date knowledge of the risks means avoiding the common pitfalls that result in data breaches.
If you’re not aware, spend some time brushing up on your knowledge or ask about staff training for cybersecurity. Marketers play a crucial role in cybersecurity, even if we don’t always focus our data-driven attention in its direction.
4. Antivirus and antimalware software
Working in client websites and handling customer data gives you a unique insight into the inner workings of digital-based sales and economies. But it also gives any digital nasties on your work devices a chance to enter a client’s systems.
Secure your devices with solid antivirus and antimalware programs (you need both) to prevent spreading the nasties and keep data safe.
5. Don’t go phishing
As marketers, we’re quite attuned to the merits of a well-crafted pitch, even if it lands in our inbox cold. But we need to practice a little vigilance here, clicking on links in unexpected emails can take you to unexpected places on the internet, or result in unexpected bugs in your systems.
Phishing attempts work, so they remain a consistent threat. Be careful when dealing with your own inbox and those of clients. If you’re not already doing so, consider investing in a high-quality email scanner and telling your clients to do the same.
The internet is a wild, weird, and wonderful place and marketers can thrive in it, so long as they cross their Is and dot their Ts when it comes to proper cybersecurity. Follow the five easy steps above and you’re set to protect both your and your clients’ data.