by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Branding, Data, Make It Happen Tipsheet, TechnologyTagged as: Digital Strategy, Risk Management, Technology
What determines the confidence in your brand? Yes, the visual identity and what people see. And yes, the experience and interaction people have, both online and in the real world. And yes, the social media (and traditional media) buzz – both positive and negative. But there is another factor, hidden from most marketers, that can have a critical impact: the security of your website.
If a hacker gets into the website or prevents access to it, your brand is tugged into a very difficult place: trust suffers. Even worse, if data is copied or stolen, your reputation is definitely in crisis. You appear either incompetent, careless, or uncaring. And while the media does report data breaches quite frequently, and it might be argued that the public is becoming immune, when it happens to a particular person, the sting is real.
While most marketers will never deal with web security directly (except in times of crisis), and most IT professionals should know how to address web security, a trust-but-verify approach is not such a bad idea. With apologies to the non-techies, here are the rudiments of web security:
Clearly, there is a cost to implementing security, but this cost needs to be balanced against the cost of rehabilitating the brand if the site is hacked… and the even more significant brand cost if customer data is stolen. The greater the potential cost to the brand, the more of these should be implemented.
Use this post as a checklist (you may need to speak to your web development team): how well did you do? If you have confidence in the technology, the market will have confidence in your brand.
A few more questions for the techs: Is there a robust version control system? Are there two independent back-up systems? How long are back-ups kept? How often are the back-ups tested? Are there automated notifications if the site goes down? And if the site is hacked, how long will it take to get back up? And finally, since most tech is now on the cloud, are you sure that the providers that you trust are still the most appropriate for your organization?
And for the marketers: Do you have an external crisis plan in case of data breach? Is there a plan B in case ecommerce is not available? And is there an internal communication plan, particularly for the front line (receptionists, call center, etc)?
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