How Safe is Your Data?

by Kristy Barker, Senior Account Manager at WhatCounts

The recent email data breaches have consumers more concerned than ever about the safety of their email addresses and other personal data. Marketers are becoming increasingly concerned as they wonder “Could this happen to us?” With hundreds of major brands affected in the recent high profile Epsilon security breach, data security is moving to the forefront of the digital marketing community.

Email addresses are extremely valuable data pieces and often hard to obtain, as consumers are becoming increasingly leery of giving them out. Therefore, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure that your consumers are confident in your ability to keep their data secure. Adding in financial information or social security numbers increases this importance tenfold.

So how do you, as a marketer, ensure that your customer data remains safe from security breaches? While there is no 100% fail-proof method (hackers are getting smarter by the minute), there are some definite best practices that should be followed anytime you are dealing with customer data—especially email addresses.

Enforce a password policy. Easy to crack passwords and predictable log on credentials leave your entire network at risk. Create a password policy for employees to follow and enforce password updates at certain intervals. Avoid sending passwords via email if possible.

Avoid sending sensitive information through email. If you need to send customer data, do so by using a secure FTP site and encrypt the data. Make sure to send the encryption key separately from the data, or share the encryption key via a method other than email.

Designate a data security specialist. This can be tacked on to an existing role, or if your security needs warrant, a new role can be created. This person would be responsible for creating and enforcing data security within the office. Part of this role should be to stay up to date on possible methods of breaches and best practices within the security community.

Be wary of unsolicited attachments. Attachments are a prime way of spreading malware and viruses. Educate all employees on the red flags of attachments from unknown sources and advise them to check with the data security specialist before proceeding with suspicious attachments.

Data security is going to become more and more important as hackers and phishers become more and more savvy. Now is the time to evaluate your current security practices and update as needed. Your customers (and your reputation) will thank you.

Explore posts in the same categories: Data, Email, Security

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