Data Breaches, Trust, and Education: Exclaimer’s Perspective on Data Privacy

In light of Data Privacy Day, we are once again reminded of the importance of data security and the constant danger of customer data breaches. Okta, 23andMe, and Vans are only a few examples of companies that have recently dealt with such issues, showing the widespread problem across all sectors. In this insightful Q&A session, we gain valuable insights from Exclaimer, a company dedicated to ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets. Focusing on the intersection of marketing and IT, Exclaimer CMO Carol Howley sheds light on their robust approach to data privacy, the impact of data breaches on customer trust, and the pivotal role it plays in educating teams about email security.

1. How does your company currently prioritize data privacy, especially in light of the increasing risks of data breaches?

As a company, Exclaimer understands the importance of information security, and it’s our goal to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our information assets. Security is built into every element of our product, and we undergo regular audits to make sure we uphold the highest compliance standards with certifications, including SOC 2 Type II, ISO 27001, ISO 27018, Cyber Essentials, and HIPAA. We ultimately want to deliver peace of mind alongside millions of emails every day.

2. How do you believe data breaches directly affect customer trust? Can you share any specific experiences or lessons learned from data breaches that your company has faced in the past, and how did it impact your marketing strategies?

Data breaches are like a storm that sweeps across the landscape of customer trust, leaving behind a trail of doubt and uncertainty. Customers feel rightfully concerned, their private information exposed. It's a jarring experience that can shake their confidence in a brand.

Trust forms the foundation of any relationship, be it between businesses and customers. It acts as the glue that holds everything together. Once that trust is broken, it becomes incredibly challenging to restore. Customers may start exploring other options, searching for companies that can offer the security they seek.

Data breaches can have a significant impact on customer trust. They can transform a company's image from a trusted partner to a questionable entity. Our data shows us that 31% of organizations who suffered data breaches in 2023 experienced decreased customer brand trust, which is of course detrimental to a business.

Companies can learn from these incidents, take full-force action, and boost their security measures.

It's about turning a negative into a positive, using the experience to grow and improve.

One specific example of how a data breach influenced marketing strategy that has always stuck with me is the Equifax data breach in 2017. Following the significant data breach that exposed sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, the company faced a severe backlash, with widespread concerns about identity theft and the mishandling of consumer data. In response, Equifax had to completely reassess its marketing strategy to address the fallout from the significant incident and focus on rebuilding trust and emphasizing its commitment to data protection.

3. How does Exclaimer assist its customers in educating their teams about the role of email security?

We're committed to maintaining open communication around our information security and reliability practices. Specifically, it’s incredibly important to us that we educate our customers about the crucial role of email security, especially given the surge of data breaches in 2023. Secure communication is non-negotiable. We consistently provide our community with industry insights and strategies to help organizations stay protected and offer a trust portal to keep customers informed about our cloud security accreditations. This ensures data privacy and security with robust measures in place.

4. How does your marketing team collaborate with the IT department to reinforce email operations and ensure a secure communication environment?

Contrary to popular belief, IT and marketing departments share a close connection. While IT handles data privacy and security, marketing engages with customer data. This overlap becomes evident when a data breach occurs and brand reputation is impacted. Our marketing and IT departments are well aware of this fragile relationship and work together to ensure our email signature management system operates to the highest compliance standards while effectively addressing marketers’ pain points like personalization and privacy concerns.

5. Looking ahead, what trends do you foresee in the field of email security, and how is Exclaimer preparing to address these trends with its solutions?

To ensure optimal email security, it's crucial to protect emails from cybercriminals. I believe we’ll see more businesses implementing stronger security measures like email encryption, autoresponders, and archiving capabilities to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of their email communications. Additionally, I believe we’ll continue to see businesses prioritize educating their employees on email security best practices — such as staying vigilant about suspicious links or attachments.

As far as our role in the future of email security, we aim to provide businesses with the educational resources and solutions to simply and effectively manage their email signatures company-wide. By maintaining consistent branding across all emails, organizations can enhance marketing campaigns, maintain customer trust, and ensure consistency and compliance with data protection regulations.