Add Cybersecurity To CMOs’ List Of Responsibilities

Companies have embraced the digital era. As a result, databases are full of customer information that can be easily transmitted and accessed 24 hours a day.

So it’s no wonder why cybersecurity is one of today’s biggest marketing challenges. The role of the chief marketing officer has shifted significantly, bringing on new responsibilities that need to include balancing cybersecurity and an organization’s data. Today’s CMO must think about potential threats facing the company’s infrastructure, expanding its security footprint, and how to best engage with customers without sacrificing sensitive information.

Historically, CMOs have not been involved with their security departments, but the failure to do so today could put a brand’s reputation in jeopardy. In addition, the use of software—whether it is for marketing automation or analytics—could potentially open a company’s back door to hackers. More often than not, security is not part of the CMO’s role until it has become a problem.  

How can the modern CMO act as a hub of collaboration to help advance a company’s risk mitigation efforts and take a strong, proactive security stance instead of a reactive one?

• CMOs and CISOs must coordinate a conversation between the IT and marketing teams to negotiate service-level agreements for security and availability. The conversation must occur on both sides, with the marketing team explaining what data is critical for successful operations and client relationships and the IT team explaining what systems are critical to customers and the marketing team.

• Today, various platforms are being used to engage customers. Having the ability to check your bank account, chat with your health-care provider, and engage on Facebook at all times is a great byproduct of the digital age, but it comes with a risk, since cybercriminals count on these avenues as a way to exploit personal data. CMOs must ensure that their companies have adequate security to span across the modern digital spectrum.

• Too often, companies stop security intrusions too late and respond inadequately. Your marketing team must undergo crisis training to understand how a cyberbreach could affect customers and how to react, including preparing a strong response in the event that a breach should happen.

• CMOs across the enterprise must come together to work collaboratively and share ideas and best practices about the elephant in the room, cybersecurity in the age of the digital consumer.

2015 was dubbed the year of the personal data breach, with almost 200 million personal records exposed through about 730 unique breaches. Preparation is the best protection, especially with the security stakes being higher than ever. Today’s CMO must constantly be aware that customer information, vital infrastructure, and brand image are always under attack. By prioritizing response tactics and data protection, a CMO can make sure the brand stands out while ensuring successful procedures that will thwart cyberattacks and continue to build customer trust throughout the organization.

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