Security Awareness: The Intersection between Marketing and Cybersecurity

Why does Security Awareness matter?

Security awareness is a training strategy program designed by IT Security professionals for mitigating risk. All organizations are susceptible to security attacks as it only takes one click to expose vulnerabilities to hackers and put in jeopardy all the assets in an organization. For instance, failing to report unauthorized personnel in the office may lead to a thief stealing data and causing significant data breaches, having deep repercussions such as severe economic and reputational damage. 

Given the wide range of potential weaknesses across a company, it is imperative to train employees to identify possible issues and be the first line of defense. This is why companies invest in developing a security awareness program and mitigate risk through organizational culture. 

With awareness training all employees can learn best practices in avoiding any type of cybersecurity threats and enhance “cyber hygiene”, which consists of actions and behaviors aimed at safeguarding digital information and systems from cyber threats. 

Applying Marketing Concepts in Cybersecurity

Could a marketing professional succeed in the field? To raise organizational awareness, teams usually create campaigns aimed at employees to learn best practices and reinforce a security culture adapted to their industry’s needs. For a biotechnology company, the priority may be to protect trade secrets and PHI (Personal Health Information) while a financial services firm may prioritize PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and PCI (Payment Card Information). 

Depending on an organization’s critical assets, a tailored security campaign should be developed. This could encompass various strategies, such as:

  • Simulated phishing campaigns to raise awareness among employees about the dangers of clicking on malicious links. 
  • Training videos on encrypting sensitive emails. 
  • Implementing access control measures to restrict access to authorized users. 

At the core of any successful security awareness program lie several fundamental elements: understanding the audience, delivering compelling content, employing creative storytelling techniques, and utilizing multiple communication channels. These elements align closely with marketing strategies, showcasing the potential synergy between marketing and cybersecurity.

By leveraging marketing expertise, organizations can effectively communicate security protocols and instill a sense of responsibility among employees. This integration not only enhances organizational resilience against cyber threats but also opens avenues for marketing professionals to contribute their skills to the field of cybersecurity.

Security Awareness: IT Marketing or Cybersecurity?

Security awareness specialists at their core are working to benefit business in an organization. They need to be aligned with business and IT objectives. For this reason, the need to have a deep understanding of both technological principles and business processes to communicate effectively to technical and non-technical audiences in an organization.

Usually housed in IT departments, particularly within cybersecurity divisions, security awareness specialists are uniquely positioned as a very business-facing IT function. Their project scopes usually encompass numerous different business units, requiring them to mitigate risks and promote awareness.

As a middleman between IT and business, security awareness ensures that cybersecurity processes are implemented and align with business goals, contributing to a firm’s success.

Technical or Non-Technical Field?

Marketing can bring many transferable skills into security awareness but is it also necessary to have a tech background? Surprisingly, extensive technical expertise is not always a prerequisite for developing content and campaigns in cybersecurity. The necessary knowledge is based on a foundational understanding of IT and general security concepts. 

To acquire these skills, pursuing entry-level cybersecurity certifications can be a fantastic starting point. For example, the CompTIA Security+  and the Certified Cybersecurity Awareness Professional (CCAP) Certification can help any professional to build a string foundation before entering the field. 

There is no doubt that marketing professionals can bring valuable skills into the cybersecurity field. Helping consumers understand why a specific content is important for them takes strategies that marketing professionals are no strangers to and can help an organization improve their security culture.

Omar Lopez is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Graduating from the University of Tampa with
degrees in International Business and Economics, followed by a Master’s in Cybersecurity. Currently
serving as a Network and Infrastructure Analyst at Raymond James, with a background in
technology and finance. He holds professional certifications such as Scrum Master, Scrum Product
Owner, Lean IT and AWS Cloud Practitioner.

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