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24/11/2017 by

Marketers and Data: An Important Relationship

As more companies become heavily dependent on technology, there is an increasing need for employees to be aware of the technological issues that could affect a business. Some of the biggest problems faced by IT departments may also affect other parts of the business, including the marketing team for example.

The Value of Data

Regardless of the nature of data – whether personal or customer oriented, intellectual property or pictures – information is a valuable asset for any organisation. Often, an organisation will hold data that is of value to someone else, which is why every business is a potential target for those with malicious intent. RSA’s 2016 Annual Cyber Security Poverty Index reports that in the past year, 70% of institutions said they had to deal with a security incident that negatively affected their business operations.

If a data breach occurs, there are long-term, as well as immediate costs. In the short term, the company would need to investigate and clean-up. In the long term, they would have to deal with issues such as falling revenue, loss of IP, regulatory audits, impact to customer perception and brand reputation. The marketing and PR arms of any company must be involved both short and long term in order to help the organisation recover as best they can.

Even when there is no malicious party plotting to steal valuable information from a company, simple human error can lead to massive data loss that will be damaging to the reputation of a business.

More people are becoming increasingly sensitive about these issues, including board members and executive management. IDG’s 2016 State of the CIO study, reports that CEO’s now consider cyber security to be one of the top three business initiatives for them. Many large enterprises are beginning to hire Chief Risk Officers to help mitigate business risk.


Whilst large organisations may be able to afford this, not every business can. That is why everyone within the organisation has to become more sensitive to these issues and understand what it means to implement up-to-date best practices, in order to prevent the occurrence of data loss and breach of data. Marketers within organisations have to understand that managing data is not strictly an IT issue, but a business issue.

As much as the marketing team should be interested in IT, the IT department must not make the mistake of overlooking secure online marketing programs that capture sensitive information from customers. It is time the marketing and IT teams aligned their priorities.

A good place for the marketing team to start is to know exactly where and how the company could lose data. Below are some of the most common causes of data loss:

human error

Human Error

One of the most common reasons for data loss is human error, such as a simple click of a button that wipes data. Even though many systems will prompt the user to confirm deletion, this feature may have been disabled at some point.

Hardware Failure

Hardware failure is possibly the number one reason for data loss. Hardware may fail because it has not been looked after properly or the equipment is simply too old. The key to avoiding this problem is to ensure that all equipment is replaced whenever necessary. Of course, even when a company replaces hardware, there is still a need for backing up files in a reliable location. An increasingly popular choice is to use Cloud backup, such as Umbrellar Cloud Backup in New Zealand or IDrive in the UK. Another option is to use an external hard drive.

Viruses and Malware

Part of the risk of being online is the sheer number of viruses that exist. There are many capable of causing severe damage, with data loss being just one side-effect. Some of the most dangerous are those designed to steal and damage business data. Such viruses are designed by malicious parties who know the value of information like technical inventions and client databases. While taking the necessary measures to avoid getting attacked by such viruses in the first place, backup also comes to mind as a reliable recovery solution.

Power Failures

Unexpected power failures can be damaging in more ways than one. Data can be lost when the power fails suddenly, just as someone is working with sophisticated databases or other such important work.

A different kind of problem that may arise with unexpected power failure is one that affects the hardware or operational system of a computer. If a computer is forced to shut down suddenly, without the proper procedures, rebooting the operating system later may prove problematic. That could then lead to a chain reaction which could cause data to be inaccessible.

Also, the hardware elements of a computer may be damaged if there is a sudden change in voltage – especially hard drives and other components that are sensitive to changes in strong magnetic fields.

Natural Disaster

Whether it is a flood or wild-fire, anything can happen at any time, especially in disaster-prone areas. Any organisation located in such an area should be aware of the kind of natural disasters that may occur and prepare adequately. Some natural disasters have been so devastating that companies have never been able to fully recover from them.


While the marketing team will not be expected to be involved in regular IT tasks, like maintaining backups and knowing what parts need to be replaced at what point, it is important that they are aware of what some of these issues are. Therefore, the marketing and IT teams should liaise with one another and have a common understanding of how best to handle an incidence of data loss.


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James Cummings

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