MarTech Interview With Dean Coclin, Sr. Director, Business Development at DigiCert

Dean Coclin, Sr. Director, Business Development at DigiCert talks about the various digital security threats that marketers and brands are faced with today and what best practices can enable better brand protection measures for B2B marketers:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Dean, tell us more about yourself and your role at DigiCert….

Thank you, I am the Senior Director of Business Development at DigiCert. I also chair several industry standards groups such as the CA/Browser Forum and the Code Signing Working Group. In my role, I represent DigiCert in these and other groups. In addition, I explore new product opportunities and evangelize our company to our partners and customers.

We’d love to discuss the growing importance of VMC and why today’s marketers need to have more know-how to drive brand impact…

First, we should define VMCs and what they do. Verified Mark Certificates allow your trademarked logo to appear next to the “from” name in Gmail inboxes. Every recipient of your company’s emails can see your logo as part of the message header. This is fabulous news for marketers as it provides an inexpensive way to control brand consistency, showcase your trademark to thousands (or millions) of eyes and, thanks to a study by Verizon, increase open rates up to 10%.

How does increased VMC adoption encourage better DMARC practices. For brands who still often struggle with email / email security issues: what best practices should they be following?

In order to use VMCs, your domain must have DMARC enforced. This is a technology which prevents someone from outside your company, to pretend to be someone from within your organization. DMARC helps protect your domain from scammers and once you have that done, you are eligible for a VMC. Think of VMCs as a fantastic reward for getting DMARC on your domains. Getting to this state can be fairly straightforward for small to mid-size orgs but can also be a challenge for larger companies. Luckily there are entities like Valimail that help you get to DMARC enforcement quite quickly.

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How can marketers and brands today build better and more secure email ecosystems on the whole?

Adopting DMARC is one way to help secure email ecosystems. Another way is to use S/MIME technology with digital certificates to sign and encrypt every message. This protects the integrity and confidentiality of messages. From a branding perspective, VMCs are the only way to show a verified logo in the inbox. And now, Apple will start showing VMCs in the next release of their software, expected sometime this fall. Other email providers are also looking at implementing VMCs to help promote the adoption of DMARC and the security of the overall ecosystem.

Digital trust is an important part of a company’s integrity. S/MIME, DMARC and VMCs are components of digital trust. Other components include a robust Public Key Infrastructure to handle things like identity and access management, IoT device authentication and TLS certificates.

As security threats evolve and hackers become more sophisticated, how do you feel this space will transform and grow in terms of tools and what marketers/brands will need to protect their assets better?

Marketing and IT need to get better acquainted and VMCs are another reason these two groups have to coordinate. I expect that future security technologies that have seen weak adoption will see “rewards” that tie marketing benefits to improved IT security.  Today we see companies that monitor an organization’s digital branding presence, looking for scammers and imposters that “repurpose” a company’s brand for nefarious purposes. Organizations need to keep a close eye on their digital presence to keep their reputation spotless.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!

VMCs are a new and very exciting technology that marketers will want to take advantage of. Gmail, being the largest mailbox provider, has taken the lead in adopting this first, and already organizations are benefiting by showing their logos to their customer base. With Apple and others jumping on the bandwagon, we expect to see VMCs in more and more places in the near future.

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DigiCert Logo - TLS/SSL Digital Certificate Authority

DigiCert is a provider of enterprise-grade SSL, IoT and PKI solutions.

Dean Coclin has more than 30 years of business development and product management experience in cybersecurity, software and telecommunications. As Senior Director of Business Development at DigiCert, he is responsible for driving the company’s strategic alliances with IoT partners in the consumer security market, and with other technology partners.  Coclin is also the previous chair of the CA/Browser forum.

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