New research from DMARC email authentication firm Valimail and the Ponemon Institute reveals that email threats tend to fly under the radar of most marketers, despite the significant risk of brand damage these threats represent.

The report, Email Impersonation Attacks: The Unseen Brand Threat, based on a survey of more than 400 marketing professionals, explains that 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, CEO of Ponemon Institute, in a news release. “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.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • 78 percent 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 percent of respondents say they are not confident they know all the services sending email on their company’s behalf.
  • 77 percent say that user convenience is the primary consideration when deploying email security solutions in the workplace.

Has your company experienced a data breach or cyberattack that involved email during the last 12 months?

Are marketing executives underestimating email-based brand risks?

The report includes comparisons with the answers to a similar survey that Ponemon Institute conducted with IT and security executives in September.

The new report highlights some of the stark differences: For example, 82 percent of IT security respondents are very concerned about hackers spoofing their company’s domains, while only 52 percent 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.

Importance and urgency in protecting email:

Are marketing executives underestimating email-based brand risks?

However, marketers are more certain that their company had a data breach or cyberattack targeting their emails (78 percent of marketers vs 61 percent 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).

Download the CMO report here.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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