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Strengthening cyber security boosts customer loyalty and trust, survey shows

By Razvan Muresan on Sep 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

Strong cyber security can help businesses win customer loyalty, protect reputations and attract new prospects. Nine in 10 businesses say that improving cyber security would enhance customer loyalty and trust, while also improving their reputation in the market, potentially attracting new customers, according to a recent survey.

Security is a key consideration in the companies’ expansion projects and, as a result, budgets are growing accordingly, respondents say. More demanding customers and the awareness of growing cyber threats are driving an increase in cyber security budgets, with 87% of businesses expecting to boost spending on cyber security in the next three years, and 10% expecting budgets to double, the survey shows.

Some 89 per cent of the IT decision makers surveyed said they felt better information security was a competitive differentiator that would help them win customers. The vast majority of IT execs also say that strong cyber security opens up new business opportunities. IoT adopters believe stronger cyber security will lead them to a 24% increase in financial benefits.

Recent high-profile security breaches have made it easier to secure senior executive buy-in for security investments. However, many decision-makers are uncertain where that investment is best placed or where to get the answers they need, the report noted. Specifically, 41% of the IT execs surveyed said they were unsure who could help with information security challenges.

“The findings point towards one core truth: embracing and mastering cyber security, and the opportunities it offers, can accelerate innovation and drive success in your business,” the study said. “Security should inform and support business decision-making to balance risk and reward: there is a risk in not doing something at all, just as there is in doing something insecurely”.

According to security specialists, attackers will continue to out-think, out-innovate and out-invest traditional cyber defence models, forcing direct and significant change upon businesses, governments and individuals. Secondly, new cyber security technologies and service models will help address the scale of the challenge and the scarcity of businesses’ cyber security expertise. Simultaneously, regulation, legislation and litigation will become even more powerful drivers for cyber security investment. Meanwhile, greater cyber security awareness at a societal level will change behaviors and help everyone see and understand the value of protection.

1,434 security decision-makers and influencers from a broad range of industries and sizes of business across Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the United States were interviewed.

These results are also confirmed by a previous survey, cited by Business Insights, of 1,278 CEOs in nine industries in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US. The study places security as a strategic opportunity to connect with customers, as a vast majority of CEOs are concerned about their customer loyalty, keeping pace with new technologies and the relevance of their product or service in the next three years (86, 72 and 66 percent respectively). Simultaneously, half of the CEOs report they are not fully prepared for a cyber event. Yet cyber security was named by 20 percent of respondents as one of the top five risks - right behind the related issues of third-party and supply-chain risks. For technology firms, information security edged out all other risks as the most pressing threat.

As Malcolm Marshall, KPMG’s Global Head of Cybersecurity, comments, “the most innovative companies have recognized that cyber security is a customer experience and revenue opportunity, not just a risk that needs to be managed.”

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Author: Razvan Muresan

Former business journalist, Razvan is passionate about supporting SMEs into building communities and exchanging knowledge on entrepreneurship. He enjoys having innovative approaches on hot topics and thinks that the massive amount of information that attacks us on a daily basis via TV and internet makes us less informed than we even think. The lack of relevance is the main issue in nowadays environment so he plans to emphasize real news on Bitdefender blogs.