With digital marketing becoming more important to businesses, attacks like WannaCry will become more common. The average businessperson understands how to protect their own environment; however, when they start to think outside of their own firewalls, the idea of data protection can feel daunting. Currently, most retail and travel sites use a limited form of digital marketing through their websites. If an organization is looking to incorporate either digital marketing through email campaigns or a website that collects information, thinking about how the data is protected matter. With a company’s reputation on the line, it’s important to know how to protect customer data when trying to engage in digital marketing.

Review Vendor Security Practices

In February 2017, digital marketing powerhouse River City Media (RCM) accidentally exposed its entire business operation to the public. RCM positioned itself as a digital marketing firm that sent out emails on behalf of organizations. In the last few years, email nurturing campaigns have become effective at building customer bases. As more and more organizations use email campaigns, more digital marketing firms will begin to come into the market. Before engaging one of these firms, business owners need to review the documentation surrounding the digital marketing firm’s security.

Review Vendor Hardware and Software Support

Understanding the space in which vendors practice can seem difficult. When looking for a digital marketing vendor, it’s important to focus on the support that they provide for both hardware and software. For example, Australian company FM Digital Group offers 24/7 technical support center that ensures proper functioning of the digital signage network, supporting both the hardware and software. Looking for a vendor who can provide technical help for both can help keep software updated as well as protect the networking around the signage. This keeps malware from being able to use the network as a back door to breach internal data files.

Hire a Strong IT Person

Sometimes the idea of hiring someone specifically to focus on IT seems counterintuitive when the business isn’t in the technology space. However, with the rise of digital marketing, IT and marketing become more aligned. A small shop focusing on clothing may not seem to have need for an IT protection structure. Sending out emails based on customer purchases seems logical. However, depending on how much of that information qualifies as personal to be protected, having someone with a strong IT background involved might be useful. For example, in the US, healthcare increasingly relies on data driven marketing. If this marketing comes from patient data, that information falls under privacy rules. Understanding the information used in your digital marketing and where that information falls on the privacy scale matters.

Protecting customer data means more than looking at point of sale storage. It means looking at the hardware and software used in the digital marketing arena. With more information being aggregated to help target marketing programs, businesses need to rethink their knowledge of the technology they are using. Incorporating a strong sense of security into the digital marketing program can create customer confidence and loyalty.