Is Your Marketing Campaign Safe From Cyber Attacks

Is Your Marketing Campaign Safe From Cyber Attacks?

When businesses think about cybercrime, they usually consider the theft of customer data, or of attacks that directly steal money from their company. However, while these types of crime can clearly cause huge problems for businesses, it is also important to note that a large proportion of attacks are not of this kind.

Indeed, the fallout from cybercrime quite often has nothing to do with criminal intent. A good example here is when cyber attacks have huge negative consequences for marketing campaigns. Businesses typically spend significant amounts of money on their marketing – these campaigns take hours of labour from skilled individuals, and the cost of advertisements and materials can be very high. 

It is a big problem, then, if a cyber attack can have the unintentional impact of hugely damaging your digital marketing campaigns. In this article, we take a look at some of the key ways that marketing campaigns can be damaged by cyber-attacks, as well as the security measures that your business can put in place to defend against them. 

Undermining your SEO efforts

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important forms of digital marketing for businesses of all sizes. The position where your website ranks on Google and other search engines can determine how much web traffic hits your site, and make a big impact on your bottom line.

SEO is also an extremely time-intensive form of marketing; it takes a great deal of work over a sustained period to see measurable rises in the rankings. That is why it can be very worrying that your SEO work could be completely undermined by cybercrime. Typically the negative SEO effects are an unintended consequence of the crime.

If your website suffers a hack, Google recognises this and informs its searchers with something called a ‘hacked site’ warning. Additionally, if your website experiences downtime as a result of the hack this can see you slide in the rankings. Google doesn’t like to see websites offline, as this suggests there is a problem with the site and it can negatively affect rankings.

Cybersecurity and data protection

Cybersecurity is also an important issue with regard to data protection, especially in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Having adequate protection against cybercrime is considered to be a part of the GDPR, as well as other data protection regulations that have been brought in around the world. 

Businesses that suffer cybercrime as a result of their lack of adequate protection can be fined for failure to comply with these regulations. It is crucial to safeguard your marketing data with a reliable and secure database Given the importance of data security to marketing campaigns, this can potentially be a huge problem. 

Damaging your reputation 

Remember that the outcome of cybercrime can be far more damaging than simply losing money, time and data. Perhaps a key thing to consider is that if your business suffers a cyberattack (especially during a high-profile marketing campaign) this can actually damage the reputation of the company and not just in the short term. 

If potential customers see a business suffering a cybercrime, it can be their assumption that they have not put responsible cybersecurity in place. Also, for those customers that suffer a data breach as a result of failures within your system, the relationship can be irreparable. 

Losing key materials

It is also worth noting that your marketing campaign can suffer from a different perspective. For example, if your business has its network breached and that leads to files and data being lost, you might be without key marketing materials. This can be especially problematic if you do not have backups in place. 

Losing marketing materials can be especially expensive, as these would have to be re-done for the campaign at a significant cost of time, resources and money. 

What can you do to protect your marketing campaign? 

While these issues can all be devastating to your business from a cybersecurity perspective, there is some good news. This comes in the form of the defences that your business can put in place to minimise the risk of cybercrime. 

  • Endpoint security – it is, unfortunately, the case that the majority of cybercrime takes place against individuals within organisations. One of the most effective ways to counteract cybercrime targeted at marketing campaigns is to invest in endpoint security. This is the security of devices such as computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones which connect to the business’ network. Any weaknesses in these devices present a potential opportunity to attack for cybercriminals. 
  • Penetration testing – penetration testing might sound technically complex, but it is actually an important security measure that is used by businesses of all sizes. Penetration testing refers to “ethical cyber security assessment designed to identify and safely exploit vulnerabilities affecting computer networks” – once issues have been identified they can be mitigated and resolved. They are generally valuable once a business already has powerful cybersecurity measures in place, and want to check the effectiveness of those measures. Rather than reacting to cybercrime when it occurs, it is always better to uncover potential weaknesses by penetration testers. 
  • Staff training – it doesn’t matter what kind of cybersecurity you put in place if staff are not making smart decisions relating to data collection and alert security practices. Human error is the number one factor resulting in cyber attacks. Whether it comes from clicking a link in a phishing email or setting a weak password that is easily cracked, humans making mistakes is a big problem for cybersecurity. It is a great idea to invest in staff training that is regularly updated to warn staff about the biggest potential threats.

Ultimately, keeping your marketing campaign secure requires many of the same tools, skills and knowledge that are beneficial to the business as a whole and any valuable marketing data. This means that investing in cybersecurity to keep your marketing campaign secure is also doing wonders for the security of your company. 

Some businesses still see cybersecurity costs as unnecessary spending, but the reality is that failing to invest properly can lead to serious financial loss, whether that is through loss of ranking positions on Google, lack of trust from customers, or even direct theft of the marketing materials themselves. 

Author Bio

By Dakota Murphey

​​Dakota is an established freelance writer based in the UK. She specialises in business growth, cybersecurity, digital marketing and HR.