As we spend more time online than ever before, the risks of cybercrime – for organizations, individuals, and governments alike – are increasing dramatically.
A data breach can inflict terrible damage on a business. It can cost millions of dollars in damages. It can damage a brand. It can leave customers feeling violated and disillusioned.
Data breaches affect businesses at a fundamental level. They not only compromise the integrity of an organization but also undermine marketing efforts as well.
Let’s see how data breaches affect marketing and marketing efforts and what you can do to protect your business.
The negative effects of data breaches
Financial losses and legal consequences
Data breaches are capable of inflicting immediate financial implications that can be difficult for modern enterprises.
There are several ways to lose money as a result of a data breach:
- You might have to directly pay the affected parties to compensate for the damage
- You must implement breach response strategies (including helpdesks for affected parties, complementary credit checks, etc)
- You must do a thorough investigation of the entire affair (which may involve paying your security teams for overtime work, hiring third-party entities to deal with the issues, etc)
- You must take the necessary steps in order to avoid any long-term reputational damage (this means you might have to double down on your marketing and PR efforts)
- You must pay legal fees and fines
Due to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which has made this scenario much more complicated since its implementation in 2018, higher penalties may be imposed following a severe data breach.
Reputational damage and loss of trust
On top of financial damage, in the event of a data breach, a company’s marketing activities will also be severely harmed.
Companies that wish to develop their customer bases and provide unique experiences to their customers by gathering and utilizing their data for marketing purposes have turned to online marketing channels as their primary advertising strategy.
Though still in its infancy, this new trust ecosystem is growing by the day, as people are more willing to share personal information with a trusted company in exchange for a premium level, highly tailored experience.
This, on the other hand, implies that brands now acquire, process, and retain massive amounts of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about their customers, making them accountable for the security of that data.
If a data breach occurs, especially one that threatens the security of consumer data, the impact on customer trust is likely to be severe and long-lasting.
What’s the end result? Brand value, market capitalization, and marketing activities all suffer significant losses.
How to Protect Your Reputation from Data Breach
Marketers must collaborate more closely with IT and security departments as the digital world gets more complex and dangerous in terms of gathering and using customer data. A company’s brand reputation must be preserved, and to do so, organizations should focus on providing both value and security through their marketing initiatives.
With that in mind, the process of avoiding possible data breaches from affecting brand reputation can be split down into the following segments:
- Focusing on data privacy and building a culture of cybersecurity
- Using Advertising Security Technologies
- Having a proactive crisis management plan
Focusing on data privacy and building a culture of cybersecurity
Marketers must change their perspective to see their duty as more than just lockings in new clients. They must find a means to promote their product or service while still protecting their company’s reputation in the event of a cyber crisis.
Implementing a security-focused culture across all company areas should be part of this mentality shift. This can be accomplished by actively and persistently emphasizing the strategic importance of cybersecurity in marketing operations.
Only then can a corporation ensure that security is a shared responsibility across all departments, not just the IT department.
Using secure marketing tools
Businesses must always stay up to speed and adopt best-in-class technology stacks for both marketing and security as cyberattacks evolve. Through correct measures, metrics, and analytics, these may ensure the reliability and clarity of marketing efforts — all of which can be highly useful when recovering after a data breach.
The tools utilized should be capable of providing data visibility, management, and reporting, but the tech stack should always maintain the greatest level of security. As a result, marketing teams may rest assured that any possible dangers they face are simply controllable.
Another thing to keep in mind when using marketing tools is compliance. You need to make sure that all the data you collect, process, and retain is managed and stored safely in accordance with relevant regulations. For example, if you’re using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for advertising, you should also invest in a social media archiving solution that will help you retain data for a required period of time and remain compliant.
Having a proactive crisis management plan
Cyberattacks can affect any organization, regardless of how secure it is. This means that proactive planning and a company’s crisis communication strategy must be given top priority.
These disaster plans are important not only for prompt and effective reaction, but they can also give stakeholders peace of mind while reducing the possible damage to a company’s brand.
The crisis management plan should be thorough and comprehensive, and it should include the following elements: inventorying hardware and software, identifying responsibilities, identifying sensitive documents, outlining response protocols, executing continuous effectiveness testing, and so on.
Over to you
In today’s oversaturated market, marketing is becoming an increasingly difficult task. Brands must discover new ways to stand out from the crowd, and these new marketing strategies might be risky in terms of data security and compliance.
Businesses must have a well-defined, up-to-date, and dynamic cybersecurity plan that is ready at all times, in addition to building on existing marketing best practices that can help them sell their product and/or service.
Data breaches do not happen when it is convenient for you, and while no firm will ever be completely safe from cyberattacks, having the correct architecture and mentality in place reduces the risks significantly.