5 Robust Cybersecurity Practices for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

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If you’re an online business owner that runs email marketing campaigns, you should know that  phishing campaigns still prevail to trick your customers into divulging private information.

For instance, hackers lured users with a fake Avengers: Endgame download scam to divulge their credit card details. They also promoted false Ray-ban discounts to steal peoples’ money.

If you’re not vigilant of their tactics, cybercriminals can harm your marketing campaigns, reputable company name, and subscribers’ safety — and they’ll do so at any cost.

Thankfully, there’s a way for you to protect your business assets.

In this post, allow me to share with you five robust cybersecurity practices you can implement on your email marketing campaigns.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in.

1. Establish an email firewall.

Hacking can be in its most harmful form when you are unaware of its occurrence.

For your email marketing campaigns, cybercriminals can hack your content system even without your knowing it.

After all, it’s unlikely for you to monitor every outgoing email, especially when you’re sending volumes of it to your subscribers.

Once these hackers gain access to your log-in credentials, they can carry out their penetration schemes. 

They can hijack your outbound messages, insert malicious attachments and viruses, and trick your email subscribers into clicking them.

That is why you need to establish an email firewall to filter your outbound emails.

Email firewalls function like spam filters. 

They supervise incoming messages based on the rules built by your email server. They study the content to decide should flag the email as spam.

They also screen both incoming and outgoing email server activity according to the conditions your firewall administrator set.

These firewalls identify hazardous emails as well and stop them from inflicting any harm. They do so by banning suspicious senders based on the domain name and IP address.

In this way, they safeguard your subscribers, complex networks, and reputation once you launch your email blasts.

2. Maintain order in your internal systems.

If you want to preserve your business’ trustworthiness and the confidence of your subscribers in your cybersecurity, you need to maintain order in your internal servers and systems.

It’s also one of the best web security practices that you can adopt to keep your online retail store protected from cyber threats. 

You may not realize it, but many of the most massive data and email breaches targeted organizations. 

These took place because of malicious intentions by their employees, instances of social engineering, or other similar reasons.

Either way, the breaches may have been a result of weak cybersecurity policy enforcement, which impacts how companies implement both human and network defense measures.

As such, to maintain order in your internal systems, you need strong cybersecurity policies about various aspects.

Who has permitted access to which kinds of messages? How long should you store emails and related files and data? How should you manage email delivery internally and externally?

These policies must be as definitive as possible, particularly when dealing with sensitive information.

Your company must also know and apply protocols mentioned in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data privacy and cybersecurity laws.

The GDPR, for instance, states that you can’t use your subscribers’ data without their permission and other than purposes relevant to your service.

This provision allows you to be careful when requesting and handling your customers’ data. Should data leakage occur, your company can be liable for it and other losses.

Integrating these laws into your company policies, then, can help secure your email campaign, company assets, data, and subscribers.

3. Set up authentication protocols.

These email authentication protocols may also be helpful when you set them in place:

a. Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DKIM is an email validation standard that lets you (the sender) link to your domain with an email through cryptographic authentication. 

This cryptography indicates that the private key it generated encrypts a digital signature in your domain and email header.

When the public key made by the cryptographic authentication matches with your private key, the email or internet service providers can then verify that your email is  legitimate. 

DKIM, in this way, helps you combat spoofing or impersonation and deliver your messages to your subscribers safely.

b. Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

An SPF is an open standard that lets a domain give a public list of approved email senders or servers.

For example, if you use Application X to deliver transactional messages and Application Y for promotional emails, you want to list both apps as your approved senders.

With an SPF, receiving email servers can cross-examine if the server who sent a message is permitted to do so on your behalf.

If the email is from a sender that’s not on your approved list, the receiving server can mark it as illegitimate and handle it accordingly.

In this way, an SPF boosts your chances of email deliverability.

The SPF standard tells your internet service provider that your domain as a sender is trustworthy, thus improving the possibility of your emails getting into your subscribers’ inboxes.

This standard helps minimize the backscatter of error and bounce alerts when spammers attempt to exploit your domain.

SPF may not completely solve all your email sending issues, but it’s an extra tier that, together with DKIM and DMARC, helps raise your delivery rates and stop exploitation.

c. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC is an email authentication system that hinders spammers from abusing your domain and sending emails without your consent (also known as email spoofing).

DMARC also detects and safeguards you from phishing techniques that cybercriminals often carry out.

Spammers and hijackers can counterfeit the “From” address in emails so that the spam message looks like it came from a sender in your domain.

An example of this would be bank spoofing where the spammer impersonates a bank, delivers a fake email, and attempts to acquire your account details.

DMARC ensures that these deceptive messages are blocked even before you can spot them in your inbox.

DMARC also provides excellent visibility, notifies you into who delivers messages on behalf of your domain, and ensures that you only receive legitimate emails.

4. Apply the right security tools.

It’s not just things like your ecommerce store design that will convert your site visitors into customers, but you also need to let them know that they can trust you from the start.   

This makes sustaining the safety of your outbound email marketing campaigns at the onset crucial. 

Research on your internet service provider and its reputation in terms of cybersecurity. If it’s susceptible to cyber threats and vulnerabilities, then it can put your business health at risk as well.

You should also examine your cloud provider that stores your website and other data.

Some cloud and web hosting services come for free. But, chances are, they probably carry with them serious cybersecurity risks that expose your data to the dark web, among others.

5. Enlighten your subscribers.

Receiving spam or possibly fraudulent messages can be inevitable even for your subscribers.

If the hijacker or spammer pretends to be your company and sends malicious emails to your subscribers, he can severely damage your customer trust and company reputation.

That is why enlightening your subscribers about email fraud can help guard both them and your marketing campaigns.

You can build customer education portals or pages on your website where you share tips to identify and block email phishing tactics, impacts of this email fraud, and others.

You must also remind and emphasize to your subscribers that you never request them to disclose confidential data over emails.

In this way, you add value to your email marketing campaigns and demonstrate that you care about your subscribers’ safety.

Conclusion

As a business owner, you can’t afford to ignore phishing techniques and other cyber threats that hijackers can execute on your email marketing campaigns.

Implementing these and other robust security practices, however, will help you protect your email marketing campaigns, your sales and conversions, customers’ trust, and more.

Did this post give you insight on securing your marketing campaigns? Share it with your colleagues. Cheers!

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