Cybersecurity has been an extremely important topic in the digital technology space. It’s a scary thought for many people to feel like they have no privacy or protection on their own devices (the sentiment of, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me,” doesn’t tend to rock well with digital users). Shifts in privacy updates from technology companies, such as Apple, dangle the fruit of control in front of us, but somehow it still feels a little fishy. With potential cyber threats looming in the digital sphere, it becomes incredibly important for users, marketers, and business owners to be diligent about keeping their information safe and secure.
Opt-in or opt-out? It feels a little like a red pill and blue pill decision, doesn’t it? Apple continued to rear its head as a privacy leader with the IOS 15 update that allowed users to opt-in, or out of tracking. Social media apps prompt us with the decision to allow the app to track, but what does that mean?
Tracking allows apps to collect personally identifying data such as your name, email address, and location. This data helps marketers to enhance business initiatives and create more targeted ad campaigns. Earlier this year we gave our Rebel take on our role as marketers in the privacy space: user information helps us to make strategic marketing decisions, rather than just taking a shot in the dark. With media giants bunkering down on privacy concerns, we begin to see shifts in our approach to social and digital campaigns. As users begin to block apps from tracking them, we start to lose out on an audience that might be the most ideal to achieve campaign success, and it becomes increasingly difficult to try to serve more personalized advertisements and promotional content to consumers. The important question to ask here is this: What is the consumer perception of these advertisements? As marketers, we have to take a step back and make sure that every ad and communication from a business is intentional and useful.
When users decide to opt-out of tracking, or communications, they expect that decision to be respected. Email marketing is a prime example of this. A company should only be emailing users who opted in to receive their emails. If a user’s digital door is closed with the porch lights out, it may be best to not go knocking. For many consumers, they want to see the use or purpose of the communication. If something is not serving their needs, they may choose to opt out. As a business, “We should focus first and foremost on the value-add to consumers. Give consumers a reason to want their information tracked by transparently providing them targeted advertisements that they’ll find useful” says IT Specialist, Matt Archer.
For many email marketers, reviewing data helps to inform their communication strategies. It’s imperative to know how many users opened your emails, but what happens when that data starts to become unavailable to us? Along with the IOS 15 update comes Apple’s mail privacy protection initiative which adds protection from data collection by email marketers and third parties. That changes the game for email marketing initiatives. Data tracking is a huge asset for figuring out the use. It’s especially important for smaller businesses that may not have the resources available to perform this research on their own. These updates raise many questions for marketers as to how they will be affected and how they can continue to operate.
“Strategies might include using offline media tactics. Cookies were one way to help bridge more of those gaps, but now we may need to leverage more first-party data,” said Manager of Advertising Operations at Rebel, Andrew Serra, on how advertisers can remain strong through the Cookiepocolypse. “Building up first-party data through organic means will be key so we can re-engage with users through social media.”
This is what makes flexibility incredibly important in our industry. Updates may make our job harder, but not impossible. We can leverage first-party data which comes directly from your own resources and customers. This can include metrics like website activity, purchase history, click-through rates, and customer feedback.
Cybersecurity in Business
When dealing with Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) initiatives, it is a part of our jobs as marketers to make sure that trust remains solid. There is a high level of responsibility that comes with handling any amount of information, digital accounts, or assets. It’s important as marketers that we do our due diligence in protecting consumer information along with our own. As a business and digital agency that works with many different clients, privacy is at the forefront of our client relationships. “As a business, we should be taking steps towards cybersecurity as it not only protects our personal information/intellectual property but those of our clients as well. Not doing our best to reduce our risk surface would be a major violation of the trust placed in us by our employees and consumers” says Archer.
All business owners need to understand the effects of cybersecurity should it be breached. Cyber attacks can have major impacts on a business and negatively impact your bottom line. These attacks don’t just impose the harm of hacked information, they also impose the risk of harming your reputation. These impacts can last for years, and potentially damage the trust between your business and your customers. Archer continues that, “an identified breach has a defined reporting process and potential financial ramifications, not to mention the erosion of trust that usually leads to greater financial harm than any fine can impose.” When dealing with sensitive data such as client or “your money, your life” information, security is imperative.
Ways To Keep Your Information Secure:
- Make sure your technology systems have anti-virus software
- Alert employees of any potential phishing attacks
- Do not open or download any suspicious links or files
- Encourage employees to use strong passwords and not share them. Consider password vaults to keep any passwords you need to remember safe.
- Use multifactor authentication for your systems
In a business environment with multiple departments operating simultaneously, there is an urgent need for collaboration. Collaboration helps to keep departments on the same page regarding their security. Communication is going to be one of the most important tools in preventing cyber-attacks among a business. We are all a part of society at large. Contributions to the larger conversation of privacy can be extremely impactful.