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Data security is not my problem

In the event of a data breach, the role of marketing could be arguably the most important. Speed and communication are of critical importance, as minutes could result in millions of dollars lost for your business. To avoid this, marketeers need to thoroughly assess all customer touch points and work with IT to ensure data is collected, analyzed and stored securely at every step.  In doing so, marketeers can mitigate the likelihood of a data breach and increase trust inside and outside the organization.

Think a data breach or security attack is the sole responsibility of the IT department?

Think again.

Data security is everybody’s concern, and it’s important you know what to do when a security breach occurs, whatever your role in the business. For marketing in particular, this area is likely to become more challenging. Consumers are gradually becoming more aware of the impact that digital systems and cloud computing have on their data privacy, potentially making it easier for hackers to access information if it is not locked down properly.

This heightened awareness, exacerbated by regular stories of millions more people having their personal details exposed, means marketing leaders need to work even harder to convince their customers they can be trusted with their precious data.

A good starting point is to carry out a thorough assessment of all touch points within customer acquisition and retention, ensuring they are free from vulnerabilities and apply the proper levels of data protection.

CMOs also need to work closely with their IT counterparts, to check that every step in the data collection, analysis and storage process is secure, minimising the risk of cyber-attack.

If the worst does happen and your organisation becomes victim of an attack, marketeers need to focus on damage limitation at the frontline, informing customers and other stakeholders clearly and swiftly about how they might be affected and what the business is doing to improve security going forwards.

So all those names, numbers and email addresses you have on file of your business contacts need to be securely stored and managed in exactly the same way you deal with customer data.

Consent must be freely given by an individual opting in – the opt-out tick boxes of old are no longer acceptable – and you need to inform customers how you are using their data, how long you plan to retain it for, and if it will be shared.

By taking these steps to protect all your customers and contacts, and lock down company data, marketers can help their company avoid embarrassing headlines, steep fines and damaged customer relations.

To find out more about business leaders are looking at data security, check out our report here.

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