Email Marketing Data Security – Transparency Is the Clear Choice
Dear eMail Marketing Community,
It really saddened us yesterday to hear of an email marketing data security breach that happened at Epsilon. We know many companies were affected. Coming from the eMail marketing community, we all know how far-reaching this type of a data breach can be. It reminds me of the scenario “I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on”, only in a much scarier kind of way.
Our industry continually talks about best practices, strategies, methodologies, and techniques. This incident illustrates why we need to be forever proactive about our security and our clients’ security. Although we don’t have an accurate and verifiable list of all affected companies, we know that some of the brands and businesses whose data were compromised are significant players in the online industry. The breached list encompasses virtually all industry sectors.
To learn from the past and prepare for the future, here are 4 quick tips you should be doing now to protect yourself and your clients:
- Have a plan. You should have a back-up plan to a data breach and a data loss in both a best- and worst-case scenario.
- Do regular virus and security scans. Make sure that your PC and your network system are virus-free and Trojan-free. Many of this type of breaches are thought to be caused by keystroke viruses that lie dormant in your operating system.
- Proactively update and change your log-ins and email addresses. Update and change your passwords on a regular basis. You should be changing your passwords on a 3-6 months basis. Keep a minimum of 2 or 3 passwords and user name combinations for the different types of sites you visit: social media (one type of address), financial (another type), and work-related (still another type).
- Be transparent. In many cases, lack of transparency can affect the true perception of the story as well as undermine the market’s confidence in your company. We understand that breaches happen in the email industry. And when they do happen, it is better to hear about it from the horse’s mouth than from all those watering at the trough.
As I have heard many times from industry expert John Caldwell, “Locks are meant to keep honest people honest.” Since your data will always be a risk element, handle it as smartly as you can.
Takeaway: There will always be risks associates with hosting and managing data. That is why you need to be as careful and proactive as possible.