Commentary

Don't Underestimate Email-Based Brand Risks

A new report, "Email Impersonation Attacks: The Unseen Brand Threat", conducted by Ponemon Institute was released this week by Valimail. This survey of more than 400 marketing professionals showed that email threats tend to fly under the radar of most marketers, despite the significant risk of brand damage these threats represent.

However, there are opportunities for alignment with their IT and security colleagues over brand protection and visibility.

"This survey shows that marketing executives are, on average, far less aware of email threats that could impact their brands than their colleagues in IT and IT security," said Larry Ponemon, the CEO of Ponemon Institute. "However, it's also clear that there are real opportunities for both departments to score gains in deliverability and security by aligning on anti-phishing technologies."

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Highlights of the report include the following findings:

  • 78% of respondents say their companies experienced a data breach or cyberattack involving email during the past 12 months.
  • The average company uses 13 cloud-based services to send email on their behalf.
  • 55% of respondents say they are not confident they know all the services sending email on their company's behalf.
  • 77% say that user convenience is the primary consideration when deploying email security solutions in the workplace.

Comparing this report to a similar survey with IT and security executives conducted in September, highlights some of the stark differences: For example, 82% of IT security respondents are very concerned about hackers spoofing their company's domains, while only 52% of marketers share this concern — even though such spoofing could hurt the deliverability of legitimate marketing emails.

Also, marketers generally believe that their companies are taking sufficient steps to prevent phishing and email impersonation, while IT and security respondents take a more pessimistic view. However, marketers are more certain that their company had a data breach or cyberattack targeting their emails (78% of marketers vs 61% of IT security respondents).

The report also reveals areas of potential alignment between marketing and IT. Both cohorts, according to Ponemon's research, have a shared interest in increasing email deliverability, and both value increased visibility into email services (so they can know which are sending email for the company).

You can download the free CMO report from Valimail here

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