The Crossroads of Digital Marketing and Online Security
Digital marketing is a must for businesses of any size and across all industries, but business owners have to be careful that they think about online security as they ponder ways to reach and engage their target audience. Any information received from customers and interested individuals must be protected, even if it’s something as seemingly minor as an email address. Having a quality website builder is essential for digital marketing, but that builder should be one that includes proper security measures as well.
Content Management Systems are commonly used for commercial sites and blogs, but they can also become security risks. Specifically, hackers can funnel malware through CMSs to anyone who uses your site. If malware is allowed through, it can tarnish your professional reputation and the trust your customers have in you. No matter what kind of CMS you use, check to see that it has security plugins, robust security features and a solid password you change on a regular basis, just to be on the safe side. It’s also best that you only use private and secure internet connections rather than public Wi-Fi.
Non-Human Site Traffic
Know that not all the traffic your site receives is from actual humans. There’s a chance there are scrapers and bots engaging in click fraud and recording links. If such non-human traffic is allowed to recreate your credentials, there’s the risk of a Distributed Denial of Service, more commonly known as DDoS, attack and fake browsers. What this all boils down to is not only are bots, impersonators and scrapers security risk, they can also make you think your site is getting more traffic than it actually is.
You can combat this by implementing botnet detection tools on your site as well as honeypots. The way honeypots work is they make hackers think they’ve struck digital gold when in reality their activity is being recorded so you have an idea of how hackers work and how to better protect your site from the information you gather about the hacker.
You also want to take steps to protect your email marketing campaign. What happens is hackers can hijack your email account and use it to send out spam and messages with viruses attached. While there’s a good chance the recipient’s email provider will flag spam and virus-infected messages, you don’t want your business name attached to such messages. There’s a chance anyone who receives emails from you will block your address, and who could blame them? Use encryption on your emails, and implement filters for messages that have certain phrases or keywords.
If your digital marketing efforts involve payments or gathering sensitive information, you have an obligation to take steps to protect this information. In addition to Secure Sockets Layer, also known as SSL, to encrypt all data transmitted on your site, you should also be sure that your payment methods are protected. With the number of data breaches you hear about in the news, it only makes sense to do everything you can to guard yourself as well as your customers from becoming the next victims. And don’t fall under the impression that there’s less chance of you becoming a victim because yours is a small business; that’s the kind of thinking hackers are counting on.
Social Media Profiles
Your company’s social media profiles are something else to include in your security plan. Rather than sending emails with viruses, malware or spam, online criminals can instead muck around with your profile, changing information and even adding offensive images or comments, activities that are sure to ruin your online reputation. Do yourself and your business a favor and get into the habit of changing your password often, and using strong passwords with symbols, upper and lowercase letters and symbols.
Don’t neglect security while marketing your business. After all, you don’t want to lose the customers you worked so hard to attract.