Inside Threat: Today’s Extended Workforce and Surprising New Risks to Your Brand

Posted September 11, 2017

Inside Threat: Today’s Extended Workforce and Surprising New Risks to Your Brand

In a recent Marketing Milestones podcast, I was interviewed about the ever-changing role of the CMO. Among the topics I discussed was the importance of having good metrics to get your arms around the business, as well as the need to be a key player in driving disruptive growth as part of a good offensive strategy to help advance the business. But, in today’s Internet environment, it also makes sense to have a good defense. Let me explain.

There’s few things that can hinder growth or damage the brand more than a cybersecurity breach. Security and fraud professionals have their hands full these days defending the perimeter of the business. But, far more often than you might imagine, some of the most dangerous threats to your brand now emanate from within your organization.

Insider Threats

It’s no secret that login data is a precious commodity to cybercriminals. While attacks aimed at stealing this information are becoming commonplace, it’s often easier for fraudsters to get this information from people inside your organization through such things as lax online behaviors and weak passwords.

Sadly, it happens more often than you might think. Don’t believe me? Well, according to SplashData, the two most popular passwords used by individuals online during the past six years were “password” and “123456”.

Organizations are coming to the realization that human error just might be the weakest link in the security chain.

Unfortunately, this problem is compounded by mobile and remote employees who don’t fall under the blanket of protection afforded to your in-house workforce.

Just like their internal colleagues, this segment of your workforce also shows lapses in judgement when it comes to safe online procedures, such as using unprotected Wi-Fi or using the same password across multiple applications. Far too often, these lax security procedures allow cybercriminals to steal critical corporate information, infect a device with malware that intercepts and replicates user credentials, or allows a cybercriminal to spy on legitimate sessions.

While unintentional, these bad behaviors can result in dire consequences. Your critical systems become vulnerable as fraudsters look like legitimate members of your workforce as they login. And most traditional user verification systems would never notice a thing.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

One common reaction to this problem is to add out-of-band authentication to the login process. However, these steps can hurt the productivity of your workforce.

Digital identities provide a more elegant solution that can detect and distinguish between authorized users and imposters attempting to access your site without the addition of tokens, servers, or other infrastructure.

Powered by a dynamic assessment of threat based on device, location, identity and global, crowdsourced threat intelligence, digital identity solutions provide real-time authentication with nearly 100-percent accuracy and block fraudulent login attempts before they compromise your business and do serious damage to your brand.

Big(ger) Picture Marketing

As every marketer knows, brand trust takes a long time to build, and far longer to earn back once it’s damaged.

And, the damage done to your brand by cybercrime not only affects how customers and partners view your company, but also how potential employees assess you as a future employment destination. A company’s reputation can affect whether top candidates accept job offers, or even apply in the first place.

In fact, 69 percent of job seekers say they won’t apply to a company with a bad reputation, even if the individual is currently unemployed.

The reality of insider threats creates a new paradigm for today’s marketer. While the traditional CMO might stay within his or her comfort zone of promoting the brand, the contemporary CMO can no longer ignore the bigger picture.

Driving disruptive growth is an asymmetric task, with new challenges that must be addressed, and even anticipated, proactively. This means nurturing a brand-safe environment and safeguarding it—even against threats emanating from your own, often unwitting, workforce.

Armen Najarian

Armen Najarian

Former Chief Marketing Officer, ThreatMetrix

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