Being a digital marketer isn’t easy. You have to stay on top of trends and continuously innovate how you approach your audience. On top of that, you need to be mindful of cybersecurity threats that could damage your company or clients.
Here are the most common cybersecurity threats you may encounter as a digital marketer:
- Social media
- CRM software
- WordPress plugins
Let’s discuss these cybersecurity threats further and see what digital marketers can do to deal with them.
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Malware stands for malicious software designed to disrupt, damage, or steal information from a computer system. Malware are of various types that are mainly distributed through malicious websites, phishing emails, or malvertising.
As a digital marketer, you spend most of your day online and are more prone to accidentally clicking on a malicious website or opening an email containing malware attachments.
If in any case, malware attacks your system, it can crack weak passwords, lock your files, spam with ads, slow down your computer, redirect you to malicious websites, and disrupt daily system operation.
To protect yourself and your marketing team, install antivirus software on your computer that can handle both online and offline threats.
It’s also crucial to educate your team about the importance of staying safe on the internet, especially as digital marketers. Avoid clicking on unfamiliar websites or opening emails from unknown sources.
A social media presence has become crucial for nearly every type of business, and it’s usually the first step for a business’s digital marketing efforts. However, social media accounts, especially those of prominent entities, are prime targets for hackers.
A social media hack can put employee data at risk and cause significant damage to the brand as the threat actors may post inappropriate content until they get paid to stop. Consequently, you will lose followers, get banned from the network, and can even land in a legal battle.
Using a password manager for all your social media accounts is the first step towards securing them. A password manager will generate unique passwords that are safely stored and can only be accessed by authorized employees. There are a variety of such solutions out there tailored specifically to the needs of businesses and organizations. You can read more here to find out more about them.
Setting up two-factor authentication is also very important. 2FA provides an extra layer of protection to your accounts by requiring a code to be sent or generated to your phone or an authentication app like Google Authenticator.
Other than that, you must keep tabs on suspicious logins, run regular security checks, and take regular security measures while using your account. Staying alert is the best policy when it is about avoiding social media account hacking.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is an excellent tool for digital marketers, allowing them to store and manage customer data such as purchases, interactions, satisfaction, new leads, and more.
However, because CRM software contains such valuable data, threat actors, primarily ransomware gangs, will constantly try to access it and steal it for their financial gain.
If hackers access your CRM software data, it can have terrible consequences for your business in the long run. As it will tarnish brand images, customers will lose trust and think twice before interacting with you. It can even result in numerous lawsuits.
The foundation for the safety of your CRM data lies with the CRM software you choose. Opt for CRM solutions that are known for their safety and security measures. You can find how each provider handles security issues by visiting their website or downloading documents about how their software operates.
Migrating between different CRM providers is costly and time-consuming. Hence, it’s best to do your research thoroughly. Check vendor blogs and IT news sites for any past history of data breaches with the CRM provider you have selected before making a purchasing decision.
After you start using CRM software, protect the data it contains by installing a firewall and a trusted antivirus. Update your OS regularly to utilize the latest security vulnerability fixes.
Train your employees, as data breaches also occur because employees’ carelessly pass around data, documents, and even user credentials. Also, consider conducting a security audit to identify the weak points in your security protocols and fixing them.
WordPress has made it very easy for digital marketers with little to no coding knowledge to use their creativity and create appealing sites for their organizations. Thanks to its simplicity, close to 40% of all sites on the internet now use WordPress, and hackers are constantly finding ways to exploit vulnerabilities.
The primary source of vulnerabilities in WordPress is plugins, as they’re created by third-party developers, some of whom pay little to no attention to how safe their plugin is to use. Most bloggers use WordPress plugins to optimize their website. However, they unknowingly fall prey to different cybersecurity threats.
Plugins can easily become a threat if you do not regularly update them or if you want to, the plugin developer stops releasing updates.
“Nulled” plugins, the free versions of paid plugins almost always carry significant risks with them. Finally, the unused plugins are also a significant risk to the system.
Since plugins present such a security risk, only install ones you need and delete those you no longer use or aren’t supported with the latest version of WordPress. Set up automatic updates to run every few days to install the latest security patches from WordPress and installed plugins.
You should never use plugins that aren’t made available through official channels. In case, you have to use a third-party repository, ensure that they follow the same stringent steps that WordPress does before allowing plugins in their list.
Get a web application firewall or WAF installed on your system to reduce your risk by filtering website traffic and eliminating malicious threats.
Back up your website within WordPress to prevent data loss in case of an attack or failure with one of the plugins.
Digital marketers have more tools at their disposal than ever before that can dramatically increase their impact on their organization.
However, these tools also bring cybersecurity concerns that marketers need to be mindful of to prevent data loss and significant financial damage.
Guest author: Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO Sandwitch Blog. He has over a decade of experience in SEO and has helped numerous businesses improve their presence online. You can connect with him over LinkedIn.