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cybersecurity tips for digital marketing agencies

Essential Cybersecurity Tips for Digital Marketing Agencies

Security is very important in the current world especially to companies that deal with marketing in the digital platform. These agencies process large volumes of information ranging from clients’ data to marketing plans, and therefore are potential victims of cyber criminals. 

Adopting secure measures is not only beneficial to your agency but also boosts the confidence of the clients as well as the credibility of the work being done. Below are some useful guidelines that can be followed by the digital marketing agencies to protect their online properties.

1. Keep Software Updated

One of the most basic and yet essential practices of cybersecurity is to ensure that all the software are updated. Hackers always target systems with outdated software because they can easily penetrate them through the identified flaws. These are normally addressed in software updates and therefore it is wise to update the software as soon as possible.

Maintenance releases are not just about providing new features or enhancing performance; it is critical in plugging up security flaws. Developers are always on the lookout for new vulnerabilities that hackers could possibly take advantage of. Thus, when you update your software on a frequent basis, you guarantee that your systems are protected against emerging dangers. Failing to do so can put your agency at the risk of cyber attacks, data loss and huge losses to your business.

2. Use Strong and Varied Passwords

Passwords are the first layer of protection against unauthorized access to an organization’s resources. A weak password is usually vulnerable to cracking since one can easily guess the password and gain access to the information. One has to ensure that the passwords are hard and distinct for various accounts so as to prevent cyber criminals from hacking into the accounts.

The complexity of passwords entails the use of alphabets in both capital and small letters, numbers as well as special characters. This combination minimizes the chances of hackers getting into your accounts through guessing your passwords. Furthermore, do not use personal information like birthdays, names or numbers, or simple word formation like ‘password’ or ‘123456’; hackers start with such options.

It is dangerous to use the same password across different accounts of different services. If one of the accounts is hacked, all the other accounts with the same password are also vulnerable. To manage this effectively, it is recommended that you use a password manager. Password managers create unique strong passwords for you and remember them for you so you do not have to remember any of them.

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3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication simply means that you are asked to provide another type of identification other than a password. This could be a code sent to your phone, a fingerprint scan or a security key. 2FA greatly minimizes the likelihood of an unauthorized login because, in addition to the password, more information is needed to log in.

Enabling 2FA is quite easy and it makes a huge difference to the security of your accounts. Two-factor authentication is widely available across the majority of the platforms and services, which will help you protect your accounts online. When 2FA is in use, even when the password has been compromised in some way the hacker will still need the second form of verification to get into the account. This extra layer of protection can mean the difference between having a secure account and having your account hacked.

Google Authenticator or Authy are two examples of the applications that are great for handling 2FA. They produce time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) and these are passwords that change every 30 seconds. This way, the codes are always new and different, which is one more step for the potential hacker to crack.

4. Educate Your Team on Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a type of cybercrime that aims at deceiving a person into revealing personal information through a fake email or a website. These attacks can be intricate and thus sometimes difficult to detect. The best way to minimize the chances of succumbing to a phishing attack is by raising awareness of the possible threats and how to identify the fake emails.

Phishing emails look as if they were sent by a reputable company, for instance, a bank or a company that you trust, and the message is always written in a manner that creates urgency or fear. For instance, an email might contain a message that your account will be locked if you do not update your details within the shortest time possible. It is important for your agency that you train your employees to detect such tactics in order to protect your agency.

It is recommended to have periodic training sessions to ensure that your team is informed about the modern trends in phishing. Illustrate with examples how these attacks appear and how they can be prevented. Remind employees that they should always check the sender’s email address and be careful with links and attachments in the received emails. Phishing can be prevented by creating awareness of the potential threats thereby minimizing the chances of the attacks.

5. Secure Your Network

Network security is very important in order to avoid unauthorized access and in order to protect content. Security is a protective shield that prevents unwanted traffic from infecting your networks and allows access only to the authorized individuals.

Firewalls are critical components of any network security system as they help to filter the traffic entering and leaving the network. Firewalls that are well configured help in preventing unauthorized access and any other malicious activities. Also, encrypting data in motion and data at rest provides an extra layer of protection because even if the data is captured it cannot be understood without the decryption key.

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The other way of protecting your network is through network segmentation. This makes it easy to confine an attack in a segment if one of the segments in the network is infected. This containment strategy is useful in providing a secure environment to your overall network.

6. Implement Regular Backups

Backups make it possible for you to restore your data if there is a cyber attack for instance ransomware, or if the hardware has failed. Backups are a safety measure that enables you to recover the systems and data to its previous state thus reducing on the time wasted and the loss incurred.

Scheduling is a useful strategy to guarantee that the backups are taken at regular intervals without the need for a human touch. The backup process can be set to occur at predetermined times such as daily, weekly or at any time depending on the user’s preference. It is also important to conduct a periodic check on the backups to see if they are restorable.

Another important factor of backup strategy is the storing of backups in an offsite secure location. Offsite storage is beneficial since your backups are not exposed to physical dangers that may befall your main office, for example, fire or floods. Offsite backups can be conveniently and securely made using cloud storage solutions since they are easy to access and can be easily scaled.

7. Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a necessity for protecting connections to the internet, especially when the connection is through a public or an insecure network. All internet traffic is encrypted in VPNs, hence it is hard for hackers to get in between and access the information. They are especially helpful for people who work from home and require the agency’s network at different places.

VPNs develop a protective pathway between the device and the web, guaranteeing that any data exchanged is secure. This encryption makes it even very difficult for hackers to intercept and read the data that is being transmitted. It is recommended to use a VPN like Surfshark especially when working from coffee shops or airport that offer free Wi-Fi because they are easily hacked.

For the digital marketing agencies, VPN can also be useful in protecting the identity of the clients and their information. In this way, it is possible to guarantee that all connections to the Internet are secure, and, thus, protect the agency’s reputation and gain the trust of clients.

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8. Employ Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software

Anti-virus and anti-malware software are important because they scan and remove viruses and malware before they can execute their code. They work as the protectors of your computer systems since they are always on the lookout for threats and eliminating them.

Updates are very important for the proper functioning of your anti-virus and anti-malware tools. Set the scans to be performed at specific times so that your systems are protected at all times. Also, try to update your software in order to counter the modern threats. New types of malware appear constantly, and only with the help of up-to-date programs, a computer can be protected.

It is also important to select a reliable software supplier. Downloading free software from the unknown sources is sometimes even dangerous as it may install additional programs along with the wanted software, such as adware. Purchasing well-known anti-virus and anti-malware programs guarantee that your systems are shielded with efficient programs.

Besides, real-time scanning and threat detection, it is useful to choose software that has other options, for example, firewall, email filtering and web security. These features can be used in preventing threats from getting to your systems in the first place, which is a good all-round solution to many forms of cyber threats.

9. Limit Access to Sensitive Information

Some employees in your agency do not require access to all the data. Restriction of access based on the roles can greatly minimize the internal threats. With the help of the role-based access control (RBAC) it is possible to provide employees with access to the information they need for their work and thus prevent the misuse of the data or their leakage.

RBAC is the process of granting permissions in accordance with the responsibilities of employees and their positions. For instance, a graphic designer will require the creative library and design tools, while a project manager will require client interaction and project tracking tools. With the help of access permissions which can be assigned to definite roles, you may minimize the possibility of data leakage.

Another important aspect is to review and adjust the access levels on a frequent basis. In any organization, there are changes in responsibilities and these should be reflected in the permission settings of an agency. This ensures that the employees are granted the right level of access and more so the former employees or contractors are locked out from the system.

Also, it is recommended to apply the principle of least privilege (PoLP) in addition to RBAC. This principle entails that users should be provided with the least privilege to enable them to work on the systems. You can also decrease the level of access rights and thus increase the level of protection of the data that is being processed.