Question: What are best practices for ensuring email security at b-to-b businesses?
Answer: Not a day passes without some marketer acknowledging an incident involving client data. Here are some practical suggestions that you can adopt to ensure that you have taken the necessary precautions to secure one of your company' s most valuable assets—email.
???Embrace technical compliance adoption. You can implement a couple of simple technical steps that will protect your brand. Authenticating your email is the first step in establishing your email identity for both senders and receivers. Grab your tech team and ask them questions like: Are we SPF or Doman Key compliant? Then adopt the most current spam filtering technology solutions available. Ensure that all attachments, files and other content that may be attached to your email are screened.
???Register domains. Registering domain names that are similar to your own can protect your brand and limit the possibility of a bad actor setting up fake (phishing) websites that allow it to use email to conduct unlawful behavior. This effort won't cost much but will save lots in the long run.
???Establish vendor accountability. As you consider your digital footprint, it' s important to have vendor accountability as it pertains to your email security. Your contracts and agreements should be aligned with all your vendor relationships. This ensures service and security continuity in the email channel.
???Manage client expectations. Set your clients' expectations appropriately when it comes to security and best practices. Your “on-boarding” process offers a great opportunity to discuss the issues they may need to consider for their own internal security requirements.
???Develop a security plan. Establish a corporate digital security team and make the email channel a priority. Define the strategy for any issue that could have a negative effect on your brand. You need to understand any corporate obligations that may be required of you should your company experience a data breach. Grab the legal team to ensure that they are also in the loop. Obtain executive approval for the development and execution of the plan because, after all, it' s your CEO who may appear on the front page of The Wall Street Journal should a problem arise.
David Fowler is chief privacy officer at Marketfish Inc. (www.marketfish.com), a provider of lead- generation services.
Originally published Feb. 13, 2012