Why Online Security Is Non-Negotiable for Growth Marketers: A Practical Guide

Introduction: A Cautionary Tale from Colombia

We live in a digital age, and as growth marketers, we thrive on it. But that digital landscape also houses countless threats, lurking around every corner, just waiting for you to slip up. Let me share a personal story with you.

In 2016, I went to Colombia, and out of fear of losing my phone, I deactivated two-factor authentication on my Gmail accounts. It sounds crazy now, but I thought it was a logical move at the time. Despite having unique and strong passwords for both my personal and business email accounts, I became the victim of either a phishing attack or social engineering. They first broke into my personal Gmail, which was my recovery email for my business account. Then, they were one step away from stealing all my crypto assets, sending spam from my LinkedIn account, and locking me out of pretty much every digital part of my life.

It was terrifying, and I was inches away from losing everything. I had one last security measure that saved me, but not everyone is that lucky. So, I'm writing this to give you the unfiltered, hard-hitting advice you need to secure your digital life.

You Are A Target, Accept It

As marketers, we’re prime targets for hackers. We have access to tons of data and systems through CRM, making it easier for bad actors to engage in CEO fraud, social engineering, and phishing scams. If you think, “Who cares if someone gains access to my Adobe or Canva?”, you’re missing the point. Both Adobe and Canva had data leaks (in 2013 and 2019, respectively). Hackers purchase this data on the dark web and use it against you. So let’s cut to the chase and fortify that digital fortress of yours.

Check If You’re Already Exposed

First, head over to HaveIBeenPwned to see if your email is part of any known breaches. Forewarned is forearmed.

The Golden Rules of Passwords

  1. Unique & Strong: A unique, strong password is your first line of defence. Passwords like 'loginFACEBOOK1' are no longer acceptable. You need something robust like f3cU#V#hdaoOv7N1qV!5.
  2. Password Manager: Use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password to manage these complex passwords. Trust me, you don’t want to rely on memory for this.

Two-Factor Authentication: Your Safety Net

Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible. This is a constantly changing code that makes it incredibly hard for attackers to break in. Don't just enable this for your work accounts. Your personal accounts are just as crucial. Why? Because they are often the recovery emails for your primary accounts.

Phishing: Don't Take the Bait

Always be wary of unsolicited communications asking for your credentials. The scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so always double-check the email addresses, content, and the sender. If something seems off, don't engage.

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Here's a straightforward guide to setting up 2FA:

  1. Understand Your Options: Familiarise yourself with what 2FA options are available for each of your accounts.
  2. Choose a 2FA Method: Decide between Google Authenticator, Lastpass Authenticator, face or finger ID, authenticator apps, or even hardware solutions like YubiKeys.
  3. Activate 2FA: Go into the security settings of each platform to activate 2FA. Follow the on-screen instructions. Most platforms have made this process very intuitive.
  4. Test: Once activated, test to make sure it works as expected. Try logging in from an incognito window or another device.

Final Thoughts

In the world of growth marketing, speed is of the essence, and we often cut corners on security for the sake of efficiency. This is a risky gamble that you don't want to take. Secure your email accounts, enable 2FA, and educate your team about the risks of phishing and social engineering. The time spent on these measures is not a cost; it’s an investment. You’re protecting your business, your team, and your future.

Now, take action and get those digital walls up!

What other security concerns are you dealing with? Let's dive deeper into those issues and find targeted solutions for you. Feel free to share your thoughts!

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Written for junior & medior marketers
Based on 10 years marketing experience
Practical examples specific to marketers
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