You may think that the task of protecting your brand or company image resides in the hands of your marketing department. The marketing department ensures that the company logo, colors, and mission statements are used adequately across all content. But, your brand image goes far beyond just your logo.

Did you know that a negative brand image may stem from an IT infrastructure problem? Like a public relations or marketing department, the technology protects your brand image.

Two examples of the impact on a brand

Often, it is a breach of company data that leads to an unfortunate branding situation. Here are two examples that most of us can relate to.

We open our email to find an important message from a vendor where we frequently shop. There has been a breach of their data, and our personal information may have been compromised. As a matter of fact, we may have to cancel and replace our credit card. What’s your immediate opinion of that company?

And here is another example. Social media lures us to a website for a limited time product sale. When we click on the website, we receive a 401 error message. Even if it is a national brand, their image, in the customer’s eyes, just took a negative ding.

Perform a risk assessment

It may be time to perform a risk assessment to ensure that your IT department is protecting your company image. MainSpring created an Automated Security Awareness Program Assessment to help companies understand the risks within their own environment. Routine audits may just prevent an unfortunate event.

It is often a break in the human firewall around your company and its data that leads to a breach. In a recent blog, tackling cybercrime with computer-based training, MainSpring vCIO

Jeremy Kaikko outlines the importance of risk assessments and using employee training to prevent cybercrime. 

Technology audits and training to prevent cybercrime are just two ways to use technology to protect your reputation and brand.

It starts with your employees

The first step to protecting your brand is always through your employees. It starts with your logo and your company message, but also includes a secure technology plan. The human firewall is your first defense to protecting your data and your reputation. 

As many of our employees work from home, will we see an uptick in company data breaches?  Many in the IT community fear that the answer is “yes.” If a firewall starts with employees and those employees now work remotely, it may be time for a policy refresh.

Earlier, during the COVID-19 crisis, I wrote a blog, Security First, Protect Your Company Data. Have you refreshed the policy since most employees have moved to a Work From Home (WFH) environment? Here are three of the many takeaways from the blog:

  1. Ensure that your company has a robust password program, and everyone is using a secure Virtual Private Network.
  2. While working from home and homeschooling, it may be tempting to let family members use a company-issued laptop. Create a company policy to stop the temptation.
  3. Take the time to ensure that all systems are covered by a company technology back-up plan and install anti-malware software. 

An example of bandwidth pressure

Protecting your brand through secure technology does go beyond educating your employees. Some steps can be taken by either your in-house technology department or a technology services provider.

In many cases, all sales and customer interaction has moved to the Internet. It is time to ensure that your infrastructure has the bandwidth to keep up with the increased customer demand.

As I am writing this blog, millions of students started on-line learning this week. Many were attempting to join a class via ZOOM when the system crashed on the East Coast and Mid-West. Within 24 hours, magazines and news agencies such as Inc.com posted about the outage. Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering, sent an apology email to customers.

“We always take very seriously our responsibility to keep you connected, and we know that you are relying on us during this particularly challenging time. We deeply regret this incident and sincerely apologize. I’m personally disappointed that we have let you down and I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. 

I am proud of our dedicated team working to enable our customers’ work, schooling, and social lives during the global health crisis. We are intensely focused on scaling our collaboration and cloud technology to help Zoom reliably connect the world now and in the future. I’m here to get this right and will personally do my best to prevent disruptions like this from happening in the future. Zoom’s availability and reliability is a top priority and we appreciate all of your support.”  Posted on Inc.com

I decided to include this example because it is relevant to branding and a situation many of us can relate to this week. It is also an excellent example of technology impacting a brand’s message: one outage and national news channels reported on the incident within 24 hours.  

Technology protects your brand image

Suppose any of the examples in this blog made you pause and think about your company’s branding and technology infrastructure. In that case, it might be time to assemble a Brand Task Force that includes your IT team members. MainSpring is a technology services provider in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia region.  How can we help you?

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