Interview with Anthony Chaffey Managing Director at Ballyhoo

Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks

SafetyDetectives spoke with Anthony Chaffey, managing director of Ballyhoo, about some of the cybersecurity challenges in the digital marketing field, building successful e-commerce websites, and what makes WordPress a secure CMS.

Hi, can you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background and your current role at Ballyhoo?

My name is Anthony Chaffey, and I’m the managing director of Ballyhoo, a digital agency based in Birmingham. My main role here is project manager which entails meeting with clients, understanding their requirements and needs, deciding on a digital strategy then working with my team to see that through to fruition.

What are some of the main services that Ballyhoo offers, and what makes the company stand out?

We offer identity design, website design, website development and ongoing services including hosting and digital marketing. We aim to provide everything a company needs to succeed online. We don’t pretend to be unique in what we do, but we do provide a quality product and level of service that’s rare in our industry. This means we get real results for our clients and are in place to support their growth so our customer retention is off the charts.

What are some of the cybersecurity challenges that a digital marketing company faces, and how does your team handle them?

The biggest threats we face are to the websites we maintain and manage on behalf of our clients. We manage some critical systems for high-profile clients which can be a target for unscrupulous people. These can range from primitive but disruptive, denial of service attacks to more sophisticated attempts to get hold of valuable personal data that we hold. We plan for this from the inception of a project; identifying the risks, mitigating them, and by making sure we have logging and reporting in place to detect and promptly deal with any potential attacks.

What are some security tools to prevent hackers from taking over a website?

The number one tip is to just make sure your platform and any plugins or extensions you use are kept up-to-date. Limiting the number of plugins that you use can also help; try not to keep plugins in place that are not really needed and also pick plugins made by active developers that regularly release updates. That might mean paying for plugins but they’re often not particularly expensive and offer peace of mind.

Switching topics to web design, what are the top three elements needed to create a successful e-commerce website?

  1. Firstly I would say to follow conventions. Most people are comfortable shopping online but expect things to be a certain way and will be more likely to convert if everything is familiar to them.
  2. Emphasize the trust factors and follow through with them; why should someone order from you and not elsewhere? Will you provide good customer service if something goes wrong? Will the product be as described and arrive promptly? Will your payment details be kept safe?
  3. Finally, provide a few payment options, including the ability to purchase as a guest without signing up for another account you don’t want.

Taking security and functionality into account, what’s your preferred CMS – a custom-built backend or using a platform like WordPress, Drupal, etc., and why?

We use WordPress for the majority of our projects where content management is needed, and perhaps only minor additional functions are required beyond what WordPress can provide out-of-the-box. Being open source means it’s always possible that security exploits will be discovered, but the WordPress team has a good record of patching these quickly and regularly releasing security fixes. Which brings me back to my previous point; always update your platform promptly!

We also built custom backends for more complex projects or those that need additional layers of security, but with the right knowledge, planning, and tools in place, WordPress can be really solid.

About the Author

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.