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Have A Digital Marketing Strategy? Then You Need A Cybersecurity Plan

Finding a company without a digital presence or strategy these days is almost an exercise in futility.

It may exist, but it’s hard to find. We live in a digital world, and for a business to thrive, it must make digital strategy a core part of its business model. As a marketer, you use online platforms—email marketing, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram—to build and enrich relationships with your customers, driving them to engage with your brand.

These activities help build your brand of course, and with it, you hope, a solid reputation. But if you don’t protect your customers, their data, and your company data in the event of a cybersecurity breach, you’re sunk. Regaining customers’ trust takes time after a security breach, and the absence of a security strategy as a foundation of digital marketing is just setting your company up for failure when a breach happens. And don’t think that a data breach won’t happen at your company: Last year 43 percent of companies surveyed by Ponemon reported a data breach.

As innovative as the online world can be, we also know that the backbone of all digital engagement marketing strategies continues to be email–an inherently unsafe channel that is the most exploited vector for cybersecurity attacks. With cybersecurity, we are well past the tipping point, and brands across the globe are being tarnished. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in damaging and costly cyberattacks in the last three years.

While businesses still struggle to respond to sophisticated attacks, consumers are increasingly voting with their dollars and taking business elsewhere after a cyberattack. Brand reputation is at stake. Companies must make a change.

Marketers have for decades focused on consumers’ interests, experiences, and satisfaction. Today is no different, except that digital is driving customer acquisition and retention more and more, with the goal of creating a personalized experience for each consumer. Even with the various platforms used to engage customers, at the crux of this ability to shop, check your bank account, chat with healthcare providers, and engage other online activities is email. Cybercriminals count on this, exploiting email and now social media platforms and channels, too. With nefarious links in Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites, it’s clear you now need to add into the mix protecting your social media presence. It’s not enough just to safeguard consumers’ email. Your security efforts must span the digital spectrum.