Covid, remote teams, layoffs, diversity and inclusion, trade wars, and now security risk? There is so much on the plate of CMO’s already, and now they need to focus on cyber risk. Yes, according to Patrick Kehoe, Chief Marketing Officer at Coalfire, a cyber risk assessment firm. 

The FBI says cybercrime reports quadrupled during COVID-19 pandemic; other reports and our experience reflects the same.  In short, security isn’t an IT problem, it’s a business problem—and it’s one that marketing needs to pay attention to, given the amount of technology it now controls.”

What specifically should the heads of marketing be concerned with? Well, start with remote teams accessing customer databases, content management systems and those “off the IT radar” landing pages, microsites and websites. According to Kehoe, “it’s time to come clean with the IT department. If you haven’t already been breached, it is likely just a matter of when, not if, so you have to stay proactive.”

A recent RSA CMO study showed that 20% of security incidents can be linked back to marketing activities. What can you do to be prepared? “The number one thing marketers can do is get a seat at the table. Use the IT organization to assess vendors and make it clear to them that security is paramount. Ensure an incident response plan is in place and be a part of the cyber security strategy,” according to Kehoe. 

A good cyber security policy can also have an upside. Use it in your marketing material. Ensuring customers, especially at this time, that you have a solid understanding of the risk, and have plans in place to address them is essential. Don’t be shy about listing your certifications and/or seals on your website.

Security and risk assessments are now table stakes, according to Kehoe. “If you want to make it into the consideration set, you have to demonstrate that you have a clear and proactive approach to addressing security issues. But don’t overstate it, if your cyber security solution only blocks 99% of attacks, don’t say it blocks all attacks.” 

Finally, being honest about your success rate and the capabilities of your solution is the best way to build long-term relationships and drive more positive customer referrals over time. But first, you have to have that honest but difficult conversation with the IT department about those things they may not know about. Good luck, and stay safe!

To hear Scott’s entire conversation with Patrick Kehoe, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Coalfire Systems Inc. about “What CMO’s Need To Know About Cyber Security”, listen or download here:

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