The digital era, the Internet of Things (IoT), social media, mobile apps, analytics, Big Data, cloud computing, and other technologies, have all massively impacted B2B marketing. As a result, management in this category interfaces immense volumes of data, forcing leaders to leverage cybersecurity to the max for data protection. Indeed, the latter is a top priority for global B2B organizations wishing to stay competitive and safe for themselves and their customers.
What does cybersecurity mean to B2B businesses?
It’s a combination of technologies, processes, and practices that converge on one primary objective: To protect the networks, computers, programs, passwords, and customers’ personal data, extending to such fine details as:
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
Cybersecurity refers to a broad responsibility to protect cloud storage and digital systems from malicious hardware, software, and electronic data incursions. In other words, stopping all attempts at unauthorized access to data centers.
In many cases, regulatory oversight has stepped in to create greater protection for millions of B2B device users worldwide. For example, both the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Law) contain mandatory guidelines for B2B marketers. Corporations face formidable fines if they fail to comply. Is it enough? That’s the big question in a volatile environment that throws out new challenges like confetti. Indeed, a company’s reputation that has been built over many years can crumble to nothing the instant a security breach exposes its data to criminal minds.
According to IBM Corp’s Chairman, CEO & President Ginni Rometty (and she should know), cyber-insecurity is the single most significant threat to all companies. The Wall Street Journal agrees, reporting that US cybercrime has breached the $100 billion annual level. Juniper Research asserts the global cost is far worse, predicting a few years ago that the cost of resolving data breaches in 2019 would touch $2.1 trillion. One shudders to think how much that has escalated in the year 2022.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) makes it clear: We need to rethink cybersecurity in a post-pandemic world. Microsoft, an iconic company in the center of the B2B paradigm, has called cyber attacks “the new normal for small businesses.” Yikes.
What can B2B companies do to thwart the cybersecurity threats?
From all accounts, after an overview of many businesses, a wise mindset is to assume that no operating system is 100% secure. There are probably cracks somewhere in the design, no matter how much one tries to conceal them from the enemy. Unfortunately, cybercriminals scan for these weaknesses, no matter how remote or innocuous they appear to the naked eye. Therefore, B2B entities have to establish security around:
And, simultaneously, interface:
- Disaster Recovery, and
- End-User Compliance
It boils down to deploying the appropriate software and hardware alongside plotting the procedural methods for protecting applications from malicious external dangers. The technologies selected must contain firewalls against unauthorized access, detect manipulations to access, suspicious modifications, outright stealing, and even the deletion of sensitive user data.
We’re talking about risk assessment and management to develop cryptography tools (to secure transmission messages) and foolproof digital signatures for entry to sensitive information.
This arena embraces usability protection and everything to do with maintaining network data integrity. The IT professionals in a B2B organization must be on top of their game on all the following system threats:
- Viruses (especially Trojan horse contaminations)
- Infamous Zero-hour or Zero-day viral onslaughts.
- Hacker excursions, spyware, and adware from every quarter of the cybercriminal community.
- Data interception and skimming (including identity theft).
What happens when, despite all of one’s most aggressive precautions, the system falls victim to cybercrime? Backups and contingency plans are the name of the game to maintain continuity. Your IT team must present a comprehensive recovery strategy that seamlessly restores hardware, applications, and data without undue hassle.
Every employee, at some level, must figure into Cybersecurity protocols. It covers training employees to look for potential threats and not fall for disguised communication traps in emails and social media. Creating transparency around GDPR and corporate IT policy reduces possible frustration by exposing the many missteps that traditionally catch the unwary.
Let’s look at the best B2B cybersecurity solutions
According to Gartner, you’re on the right road to B2B cybersecurity resolution when you come to grips with the reality of threats to the system. However, it requires a workable understanding of the following core items that drive disruptions in a system:
- The threat context and mechanisms.
- Threat indicators.
- Threat Implications.
Once on the table for all to see, management can get down to:
- Actionable options for tackling:
- An existing or emerging menace.
- A hazard to assets
- The degree of cybersecurity leverage you have to address the issues.
- Taking tactical and automated actions into account.
- Including firewalls, malware protection, web gateways, email security, and intrusion prevention.
- Getting ahead of the threats with alerts before any real damage creeps into the network.
Having a contemporary business intelligence approach
B2B entities must come to terms with sharing business intelligence systems with all relevant personnel regarding potential cyber threats. It works especially well when there’s an extended network of devices at the root of such a network. In so doing, be sure to establish training needs in the first instance.
- Emailing is a critical tactic that hackers rely on to connect with unsuspicious staff members.
- But, unfortunately, pleas of innocence or ignorance after the damage is in the network don’t help matters. Indeed, these are the human frailties that cybercriminals prey on based on an expectation of inadequate knowledge.
- As a result, management can either decide to play into the hands of bad actors by neglecting education protocols, or grab the dilemma by the horns and thwart the attacks at the first entry.
Moreover, with many B2B employees working from home offices and public locations with suspect WiFi security, the pressure to get everyone up to speed is turned on full blast. Another thing:
- B2B customers have gravitated toward committee decision-making, bringing multiple team members to close the deal.
- It complicates the B2B scenario considerably because the crisscrossing of messages escalates exponentially.
- Sales reps must ensure all committee members are updated on the proposition, creating a stream of attached documents traveling back and forth.
In an unregulated and unstructured landscape, the picture painted above is a hacker’s dream, allowing them to locate intelligence cracks that let them bury malware in the system. Indeed, potential gaps can exist at every turn, unless the B2B entity launches the communication bandwagon on sturdy wheels and a defined track. That means prescribing passwords and establishing visuals that leave the parties in no doubt that the sender is authorized and legitimate.
Companies at the cutting edge of the latest precautions have automatic alerts triggered by unorthodox messaging, so that management can cut it off at the root.
B2B entities are significantly different from B2C enterprises. Whereas the latter relies on thousands of consumers, the former may only deal with one massive client or a few big ones. The depth of customer due diligence goes much deeper, and trust in the supplier is vital in every transaction. There’s no room to take risks with cybersecurity issues, because millions of dollars can dissolve in minutes if anyone in the customer committee feels uneasy.
Thus, B2B organizations must prioritize installing firewalls, anti-virus protection, data backup systems, and effective admin control to regulate and support users’ activity. These days, enterprise content management systems are accessible to leverage every cybersecurity angle to maximize data protection. For example, encryption technologies are ideal precautions alongside a “for certain eyes only” policy to keep things manageable and contained.
Sogolytics is at the cutting edge of B2B initiatives. Contact the team if you need assistance with any part of your EX or CX planning.