Never before has it been so essential to communicate online with your customers and your colleagues. The reasons for this are numerous. Primarily, your customer can see in writing exactly what you are offering instantly. They can send you messages or confirmations back within seconds. Business can be conducted at faster speeds than ever before. Businesses are using a vast array of communication methods for marketing, CRM and order management. Fewer and fewer are using the postal system.
Most of what can be done online can be done for ‘free’. Of course, you need to pay the personnel responsible for getting your messages out, and for the office based systems you are using. Social networking and social media is high speed and promotes instant response from current and potential customers. Email campaigns provide instant statistics on the success or other of your campaigns. Instant messaging or online chat services solve customer problems and answer their enquiries. FaceBook provides your customers with news, information, and special offers. YouTube allows them to see the best applications for your products.
Few businesses are failing to exploit the power of online communications. Sadly, few businesses are exempt from those malicious groups and individuals trying to take advantage. Every day, millions of emails are sent. Many of them are malicious. They are designed to infect your systems and damage your IT infrastructure. They can stop your business in its tracks. They can also pretend to be you and infect your customers with damaging viruses, or at the very least, damaging PR.
Most businesses know they must do whatever it takes to avoid hacking and loss of data. Services like Mail Cleaner can check all inbound email to your server and prevent malicious code infecting your systems. Some businesses also restrict employee activities online to avoid exposure to websites with suspicious coding. Many websites will be blocked, and personal email accounts or shopping sites will be inaccessible. While some businesses allow FaceBook and other social media to be used on breaks, others but a blanket ban on anything not work related. With the prevalence of smartphones, many employees are not worried about this anymore, so it doesn’t affect morale.
Most problems with viruses and malicious code do arrive on business servers through employee email accounts. Hijacking can occur quite easily this way, which is why it is important to change passwords frequently. The damage to your company’s reputation that can occur if your email account starts sending out emails that you did not write is huge. Some people avoid contact lists on their personal email accounts for this reason. But this solution is completely impractical in a business environment.
While the threats will never go away, neither will the requirement to communicate using the internet. In a business environment, it is far more convenient and much cheaper to reach our target customers this way. Response is fast, making measurement, analysis and adjustment much easier. Customers also like answers in this way. It seems nobody wants to wait for the post anymore!