Privacy and security Concerns in Digital Marketing: Security Comes First

Digital marketing is the flow and ebb of online ecommerce. Without marketing, what the vendor has to offer the marketplace cannot make the final leap to sales and conversions. Successful marketing grows a cohort of happy customers, who return and bring their mates.

Australian digital marketers who need to buff up or shore up their online marketing skills can consult experts like Jessica Goerke, whose analysis of 2019 Australian digital marketing trends is a solid staring point

This article is based on the assumption that the reader is aware of and is pursuing the best digital marketing tactics. Instead, we will concentrate on the security threats to digital marketing. Security concerns should be up front in the minds of marketers who don’t want to experience an unfortunate ending point to their business.

The security concerns in digital marketers are much the same for anyone whose personal information goes through digital business pathways and platforms. On the other hand, cybersecurity threats tend to concentrate on the most lucrative and data-rich targets frequented by digital marketers.

The Small Business Association of Australia highlights that threat with this alarming statistic: According to the PWC, “in the last two years 45% of Australian companies were attacked by online criminals.” Our colleagues at the U.S. Small Business Administration also recognise those threats and have published a top-ten listing of cybersecurity tips.

The most important suggestions for marketers have to do with protection against malware, data backup, and employee education. Marketers should secure their networks and safeguard their network connections by using a firewall and encrypting tool like Surfshark’s VPN. In addition to heightened security, a VPN provides a wider reach for marketers in locations blocking outside internet access based on geographic location.

What digital marketers need to do to keep security up front

A mountain climber’s goal is to get to the peak, but safety must come first for obvious reasons. Likewise, digital marketers should also focus first on security in meeting their goals. The consequences of spreading destructive malware would be catastrophic. This security awareness requires knowing and acknowledging the threats. Those threats include the following:

Email marketing risks

Outbound digital marketing via email is a traditional and powerful tool. The threat of email account hijacking includes phishing and spamming. Hackers can send links to malicious websites that download ransomware to completely encrypt the victim’s data files.

Guard against email messaging threats through encryption and adding outbound filters. Digital marketers should install email security software to stay ahead with cybersecurity threats.

Threats to customers’ data privacy

Customer data is the treasure trove of digital marketers. That data is likewise a goldmine for hackers, who steal, sell, and compromise customer passwords, credit card information, and personal data. Data breaches have resulted in the compromise of millions of customer accounts, bad publicity for the targeted businesses, as well as fines and legal sanctions.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has published a Second Edition to its Small Business Guide,Protect your business in 5 minutes”. The Centre’s most important measures for online marketers include:

  • Data security through anti-virus, firewalls and encryption, including keeping operating systems and backups up to date
  • Hardware and network monitoring as well as mobile security consciousness
  • Employee security education and monitoring,
  • Password security and strengthening, with passphrases and 2-factor authentication
  • Monitoring customer activity on a regular basis with a view towards detecting unauthorised access

Social Media disruptions

Social media is a valuable monitoring tool for tracking real-time references to a business brand. Those mentions provide a source for exploiting outbound marketing efforts. On the other hand, hackers can hijack a social media account and create confusion. Hacking can change the company profile, add false and offensive statements and send spam emails from the account to its customers.

The best defenses against social media hacking are strong passwords and social media monitoring tools. With the latter, marketers can trace brand name mentions as well as hijacking threats. See the Clutch 2019 review of the top social media marketing Companies in Australia.

WordPress website attacks

WordPress ecommerce websites are popular platforms for marketers. They provide attractive targets for hackers, especially to older sites running out-of-date plug-in components. The attack vectors are essentially of the front-door variety.

So, the best advice for marketers using WordPress is to apply the patches and updates as they become available. Those updates are the essential security measures in the game of leapfrog staying one step ahead of hackers.

Threats to financial transactions

Digital marketing customers frequently include ecommerce websites. When those sites process customer payments through third-party services like PayPal, they can be lucrative targets. The usual vectors are malware. Marketers working for those sites need to be familiar with anti-malware measures. Additional security measures like SSL protocols and two-factor authentication processes can add a higher level of customer comfort.

Also, anti-malware measures should include the additional layer of data transmission encryption provided by VPN. Data that is encrypted is useless, even to someone who manages to intercept it.

Invasion by non-human bots

According to this social media monitoring blog, more than half of web traffic is “non-human.” Those automated pests include “click fraud, scrapers that record links…spam bots, and more.” The also include software designed to mimic and recreate user credentials. Those bots can open the door to denial of service attacks, fake browsers and fraudulent traffic counting.

There are several countermeasures marketers can employ against bot-based attacks. They include installing false infiltration opportunities to detect botnet recognition signatures. Marketers can also help customer websites fit bots with CAPTCHA tests that only humans can pass.

Conclusion

Digital marketing in Australia—both of the outbound, and inbound varieties–can cast a wide net in the search, care, and product feeding of customers. Marketers must be aware of the security and privacy threats to both their business and their customers. Each web platform or social media site, a marketer uses can be a vector for vandals, fraudsters, and hackers.

The threats run the gamut of brand hijacking to stealing customer personal data. Safeguards include detection and blocking of the threats along with basic awareness. Security awareness and a healthy low-level of paranoia should be the first tools in the marketer’s approach and online presence.

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