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Guest Post – Security Tips for Internet Marketing

March 3, 2016 - Marketing, Misc., Tech -

* We’d like to thank our new friend, Cassie Phillips of Secure Thoughts, for sharing with our audience and contributing to our blog! *

The age of the internet is upon us, and as any good marketer knows, when advertising a product or service, the online campaign is perhaps the most important element of all. Internet marketing is an unstoppable force with potential to widen reach and increase sales like no other. Whether you pursue content marketing or search engine optimization, having a successful online presence is an important pursuit.

Unfortunately, there’s one element of internet marketing that is often overlooked and, if not properly considered, could be the end of your online campaign for good. Online security is an ever-growing concern for all internet users, but for those who rely on the web to make money and support their brand, it’s in indispensible practice. These few tips are a great place to start to protect yourself and your work and ensure that you won’t fall victim to cyberattack.

Protect Your Device

For anyone administrating or moderating online campaigns, protecting the device that you most regularly use is an essential practice. This is because there is a risk of infecting your websites and blogs with malware from your computer. It also acts as a window for hackers to access and infiltrate your online activity. The two most common ways of protecting your device is to use anti-virus software and a firewall.

There are many different brands of anti-virus, so choosing what works for you will depend on your brand of computer, requirements and price range. Although opting for a free program may seem like the most attractive option, the increased protection and customer service that paid packages provide are sure to benefit you more in the long run.

Similarly, with firewalls, there are two types to consider. A software firewall is the most common for personal users and works from an installed program to filter traffic from online to your device. Meanwhile, a hardware firewall is a device specifically for hosting firewalls. A good example of this kind can be found within your broadband router. The advantage of using this type is that it does not bog down your computers memory and processing, but unfortunately, it can’t be made mobile for marketers who want to work on the go.

Protect Your Connection

Alongside protecting the main device you work from, protecting your connection to the internet is also an essential part of online security. This is particularly relevant for marketers who work while on the go. Although public WiFi networks offer a great opportunity to catch up on emails and monitor websites when out and about, they are also notoriously insecure.

This means that malicious hackers can intercept your data with relative ease, which could result in nasty spam emails to clients, infiltration of online resources and even identity theft. There is even the possibility for them to access your bank account if you use online banking sites while connected to the network. Suffering an attack of this type is sure to damage your reputation significantly and destroy the trust of any users and clients who you are linked to.

Fortunately there is a simple solution to this: a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN, once installed, acts as a middleman between you and the WiFi network. By accessing the internet via the VPN server, you create a secure initial connection that mimics a private line and therefore encrypts all of your data. The VPN also hides your IP address, so you can access the internet safely and anonymously without having to worry about cyberattacks. There are many different brands to choose from, so be sure to do your research and find the best VPN for you!

Stay Updated

Due to the ever-changing, ever-growing landscape of cybercrime, one of the best security tips out there is to stay up to date. This refers to two things. First, physically updating all the software you use is an important practice. This is because software updates usually contain fixes for security holes in previous versions of the programs that went unnoticed until they were exploited by hackers.

Once these holes have been identified, it leaves users very vulnerable, so running old versions of programs puts you at constant risk. This means that, even though it may seem time consuming and generally too much hassle, updating all your systems as soon as new versions are released is essential. This refers to everything, including all anti-virus and firewall software, internet browsers and even the operating system of the computer itself.

Second, it’s important to stay up to date with new threats that have developed in the cyberworld. There are many websites and forums that keep users updated with new security risks and ways to resolve them.

Password Protect

This is being reiterated constantly in all facets of online security, but it cannot be said enough. Passwords are your first line of defense when protecting against malicious hackers and other security threats, so it’s essential to take them seriously.

Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of accounts that require passwords, it’s very easy to re-cycle and re-use old and common combinations. Nearly everyone is guilty of doing this: from the marketing world to general domestic computer users. However, this practice is likely to put your whole enterprise at risk because, as soon a cybercriminal intercepts your password for one account, it becomes significantly easier for them to work out the passwords for everything else.

Ensuring every password you use is unique and complex (e.g. numbers, capital letters, punctuation, no D.O.B or common phrases such as “password”) is one of the best steps you can take to ensure your entire marketing endeavor remains secure. If you’re worried about not being able to remember so many passwords, there are many password management systems that store and encrypt you passwords so you don’t have to worry!

Back Up

No one wants to entertain the idea of what would happen if they became victim to a fully-fledged cyberattack; however, the reality is that the chances of it happening will never be completely zero. No matter how good the security systems that you have in place are, it’s always possible for something to slip past. Because of this, it is essential that you back up all of you work! This includes email exchanges, website data, affiliate marketing content—everything!

Furthermore, it’s advisable you use two platforms to perform this back up: cloud storage and physical hard drive. The reason for doing this is that both systems have their own vulnerabilities and losing your back-up data and suffering a cyberattack, although unlikely, is not impossible. Cloud storage is still at risk from malicious hackers and physical hard drives have the potential to corrupt if dropped or handled too roughly, so by using both, you’re sure to have your data at hand no matter what occurs elsewhere.

Do you have any more tips that you think should be added to this list? Or have had experience with any of the points already mentioned? Be sure to leave a comment below and help marketers everywhere partake in a secure and safe online practice!

cassiephillips

Cassie Phillips is based out of Ohio in the United States, is a technology and internet security enthusiast, and is a writer for SecureThoughts.com / @isecurethoughts (Twitter).

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