Of all the things a business needs IT support for, cyber security has to be at the top of the list. Maintaining functionality amid the risk of attacks and avoiding threats like ransomware or the theft of secret information are all vital to help a company prosper.
However, this may not just be a matter of protecting your company against negatives. There can also be positive effects in terms of creating trust, especially if yours is a consumer-facing business whose customers will be more confident if it has a strong record in this area.
This point was made in an interview with the Financial Times by Caroline Carruthers, who became one of the first chief data officers ever in the UK when she took up a post at Network Rail.
She said: “Boards genuinely understand that cyber security is either a competitive advantage or something that can cause them real harm if they get it wrong.”
This view was backed by the chief security officer at the consultancy Fractional Execs Chris Cooper. He said: “There is value in promoting your cyber security to consumers. Transparency between the consumer and business is key to business trust.”
While the article went on to note the view in business is that high cyber security standards should not be used for sales, the very fact of being able to show clearly that they are secure means firms can grow their trust, especially in fields like financial services where customers do not want their confidential financial details compromised.
These points were backed up by a survey by ISACA in 2022 showing that firms suffering a loss of confidence due to IT security breaches suffered badly as their damaged reputation cost them customers.
Consumers haven’t only just started thinking this way. A poll by IBM in 2018 found 75 per cent of people would not buy from a firm they didn’t trust to keep their data safe, while 85 per cent said they thought companies should be doing more to maintain security.
By building consumer confidence in your systems, you can expect to gain custom from rivals who fail in this area.