This Is How You Dodge All Security Vulnerabilities In Your MA Tool!

Author: Sonam Rastogi | Categories: Marketing Automation, Information Security, Website Security, Oracle | Eloqua

Using marketing automation (MA) tools to run campaigns and ensure a boost in ROI and revenue is no longer ‘fancy’ and restricted to bigger marketing teams. Even firms in the mid-level business category are deploying MA tools in their setups to enhance the results of their marketing efforts. While bigger setups have dedicated cybersecurity professionals (and state of the art tools) to take care of security vulnerabilities, it is the smaller setups that struggle while safeguarding data. Cybersecurity is of utmost importance and plays a major role in the success of a business. To prevent e-borne threats, it’s imperative that marketing automation experts are aware of the current security vulnerabilities and ready to combat the ones that may crop up in the future.

Marketing automation tools are loaded with a lot of data – both internal as well as external. Naturally, these tools are at risk of being violated and the data therein getting misused. Whether it is Eloqua, Pardot, or ExactTarget – your MA tools need security to keep your web properties safe against hackers.

Data security for internal and external records

Irrespective of whether a visitor arrived on your landing page as a result of your latest email campaign (internal data) or she arrived on the specific landing page via some other page on your website and submitted a filled form (external data) – she is a valuable prospect and her data ought to be safeguarded. Internal and external data can be ranked at different security levels and therefore require separate security means. Highlighted below are the different ways in which we can secure each.

Internal data security

Contact-level security

Businesses want to organize their contacts (data) in such a way that their different verticals (marketing, sales, etc.) have access to relevant information only – in a shared database. Contact level security (CLS), also known as Label-based Access Control (LBAC), allows you to use labels to restrict the access of contacts in your database. In CLS, contacts are allocated different labels in the program canvas; depending on the rights specified, teams can access contacts only in their specific groups. For example, security group members can only access the contacts carrying the label ‘security group’. Assigning labels is reflective of your business processes and current requirement. In Eloqua, you can create labels based on regions/ demographics to keep your targeted audience specific and also prevent the misuse of data by irrelevant groups.

IP whitelisting

Use of IP whitelisting to restrict access

In a marketing automation tool, you can also secure your data by creating whitelists of IP addresses. Any attempt at accessing your database from an IP address that doesn’t feature in your whitelist will be instantly restricted. Besides, whitelisting allows listing entities with privileges (access, services, validity, etc.) within an environment.

cyber threats and data security

There are a host of security benefits that you can enjoy with IP whitelisting, which includes:

  • Allowing you to bar unauthorized users from using your marketing automation tool, including former employees. Most organizations deactivate the access on their internal and VPN networks when an employee exits.

  • Facilitating the creation of whitelists across different levels within an organization.

  • Providing simple customization abilities to access controls.

  • Restricting the visit of your website by unauthorized users till it is globally launched.

External data security

SSL Certificates

In MA tools, landing pages and emails are secured; however, there is the need for additional security for vanity URLs. This is when the use of SSL security protocol comes in handy.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security protocol for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. The data that is exchanged between the two platforms is encoded to maintain its privacy. This secure exchange requires an SSL certificate on the web server; the SSL certificate is typically ready within 15 minutes. The change in value in the SSL status column from Processing to Enabled ensures that the process is complete and the certificate is ready for you to set the default domain to HTTPS.

For example, in Pardot, while ‘go.pardot.com’ has long offered SSL; starting February 1, 2018, Pardot has now started to offer SSL for vanity domains, allowing you to maintain your brand and your customers’ trust by displaying a secure checkmark in their browser. 

SSL certificates

The need for SSL certificates

As you’re aware, data transferred in plain-text form or a non-encrypted format can be easily intercepted, stolen, damaged, and manipulated. To perform online transactions, you are needed to submit personal information on several platforms. This includes debit card or credit card information, social security information, usernames and passwords. Hackers who intercept this unencrypted communication can gain full access to your data and thereby use it for illegal purchases and other malicious activities.

While dealing with customer data, organizations have to be very cautious. It’s not just about losing the data; it’s also about losing customers’ trust due to a data breach instance. This is where SSL certificates help you to make your website trustworthy. Businesses, therefore, must use an SSL certificate to fortify their website, especially if they have online payment in their process, or if they seek confidential information of users. Besides building trust and boosting website security, SSL certificates also help with SEO efforts – Google ranks pages better that are served over https.


‘Clickjacking’ is a technique that cyber criminals use to deceive web users into clicking on malicious web links or buttons in disguise. Attackers use embedded codes that can execute without users knowledge for stealthily collecting personal information.

For example, a hacker may design a landing page in an MA tool carrying a CTA ‘Click here for an offer’. While the webpage may appear harmless, the hacker would have in fact loaded an I-frame with your bank account on the top of the page and written code to ‘forward all messages’ to a specific page when someone clicked on the link. So, while a user would click on it to claim/ review the offer, she would be clicking on the forward message button to send all her information to a secret database of the hacker. This would include even her secure data. Such malicious activities, where a hacker has hijacked the user’s click, is called clickjacking. 


To avoid clickjacking

If the server didn't return an X-Frame-Options header, it could be an alert itself! This can imply that the website is at risk of a clickjacking attack. To avoid clickjacking, take advantage of the HTTP Header X-Frame-Options check. All latest browsers support this functionality, and you can quickly secure the visit for the user.

The rules of marketing automation are changing – perhaps faster than the speed in which digital customer interaction is changing. So, to remove all security ambiguities and ensure that all data to and fro in your tool remains secured, you’ve got to take those extra little ‘big’ steps – the use of SSL certificates, IP whitelisting, contact-level security, etc., are just a few to name.

If you have deployed any other security measure that worked well for your marketing automation tool, and also helped streamline your marketing campaigns, don’t miss to share with us.