Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Why CMOs should be paying more attention to cybersecurity

Brad Howarth | July 6, 2016
High-profile cyber attacks and threats should be raising alarm bells for marketing leaders in terms of brand strategy and safety

There aren't many marketers who would rate their ongoing interest and involvement in their company's cybersecurity defences as 'high'.

But for Carilu Dietrich, San Francisco-based head of corporate marketing for Australian-born collaboration software maker, Atlassian, checking in on the status of its 'severity 1' support tickets is part and parcel of the job. And it is not just Atlassian she is worried about.

"First and foremost, we worry about the impact of cyber incursion on our customers - their data, their privacy, their content, their source code, their reputation with their customers," Dietrich says. "Our collaboration software is such a central part of the way our customers do business, and we have a huge responsibility to protect them and their data.

"We take that responsibility very seriously, and work hard to maintain and grow their trust. We are constantly on high alert, modelling, monitoring and responding to security threats of all types."

Keeping track of incidents allows Dietrich and her team to understand how customers might be affected, and how Atlassian can be proactive, transparent and helpful with communications and resolution plans. And unusually for a marketer, this also means she has a great partnership with the company's security group.

"They have their specialist skills, and we have ours - both are needed for us to protect and inform our customers in the best way possible," Dietrich says.

Branded with security consciousness

It is a situation that is relatively commonplace among marketers within technology firms - particularly those whose companies play a role in either hosting or securing their customers' data. But step beyond the realms of the IT industry, and it's rare cybersecurity gets a mention within marketing circles.

Unless something goes wrong, of course.

High-profile cyberattacks, such as those launched against Sony, Ashley Maddison and Target in the US, shone a light on the connections between cybersecurity and marketing, particularly with regards to the potential damage to brand value.

While marketers often discuss brand safety in terms of not wanting their brands to appear in publications or websites that might lead to negative associations, surprisingly little attention is given to ensuring brands are not the victims of bad actors from the darker corners of the Internet.

Partner in cybersecurity at PwC, Richard Bergman, frequently talks to company boards and senior executives about the connection between brand, reputation, trust and cybersecurity.

"I don't think companies are taking their existing brand's value and connecting that to cybersecurity and how it could be impacted," Bergman says. "Boards, senior execs and marketing are still struggling to understand how to manage 'cyber' as a risk, and they are not quite treating it as a whole-of-enterprise risk or something that can have a significant impact to their brand."

 

1  2  3  4  Next Page 

Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.