A new report from communications giant Vodafone reveals a strong link between good cyber security and business success.
Cyber Security as An Opportunity
The report, Cyber Security: The Innovation Accelerator, explores the influence of cyber security on business decision-making, the actions companies are taking to improve security and what impact their action (or inaction) is having on their organisations’ success and future plans.
One of its most significant findings was the link between strong cyber security and business success. 73% of companies believed that strong cyber security enables new business opportunities, with the figure rising to 86% among high-growth businesses, who were much more likely to see security as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, those companies who have marked themselves as innovative by being early adopters of the Cloud and the Internet of Things are more likely to view cyber security in this way. 82% of IoT adopters and 76% of Cloud adopters said they see cyber security as an enabler of new opportunities. IoT adopters also expected to see a 24% in financial benefits from having strong cyber security.
How Cyber Security Can Boost Business Success
So how does strong cyber security increase business success?
One way seems to be gaining and retaining customers – customers who know their data is securely protected. A company’s cyber security record is likely to become an increasingly important part of its profile and pulling power as cyberattacks become more frequent. 89% of respondents said that improving their cyber security would enhance customer loyalty and trust. The report concludes that cyber security gives businesses:
- The confidence to embark on major transformation and innovation projects, knowing that data is protected and secure
- Assurance that the company is compliant with current regulations and prepared for new ones
- Freedom to use data in new and creative ways – such as enabling flexible working for employees to drive growth, without risk of information being compromised (e.g. on mobile devices).
- The ability to demonstrate reliability and responsibility to company shareholders
Andrzej Kawalec, Vodafone Group Head of Enterprise Cyber Security Strategy & Innovation, said: “Cyber security has evolved beyond simple protection of the status quo and is being used by companies of all sizes to support and accelerate innovation and growth. It is giving businesses greater confidence in opening up new markets and introducing new services.”
Looking to the Future
83% of businesses and 88% of high-growth businesses said that being confident in their security helps their organisation be future-ready – and with security breaches increasingly hitting the headlines, most companies accept they’ll need to prioritise cyber security seriously and invest in it going forward. 91% of under 35-year old decisionmakers – compared to 86% of over 35s – said they expected they would need to increase their cyber security budgets over the next three years to meet growing challenges. However, with both cyber risks and security options on the rise, 41% said they were unsure who could help with information security challenges.
“While we are seeing a desire to create cyber ready organisations, companies are not sure about who best can help them,” said Andrzej Kawalec. “I believe that the most successful companies will be the ones which design in security from the start and use it as springboard.”
Four Steps to Cyber Security
The report also identified four steps businesses should take to meet current cyber security challenges and those in the future:
- Understand cyber risk
Without understanding the threat, you can’t develop a future-ready security strategy.
- Build a cyber-ready culture
Everyone needs to be aware of cyber security risks – not just your IT team. Your staff are your first line of defence, and it’s often a careless click on an email link that poses problems. Anyone who accesses, creates or uses data and systems needs to be aware of the various strategies used by cyber criminals and their role in maintaining cyber security.
- Develop cyber security operations that enable you to:
- Predict where and when attacks are likely to occur using cyber intelligence, behavioural analysis, penetration testing and vulnerability management
- Protect your business using controls focused on the network, infrastructure, applications, data and users
- Detect attacks in real-time and allocate appropriate resources to tackle them wherever and whenever they happen
- Develop a cyber response and recovery plan
Every business needs a strong mitigation and recovery plan to:
- limit the damage caused by cyberattacks
- ensure the continued availability of your systems and data
- minimise the damage that a security breach can have on your business
Is your small business cyber secure? Can your customers trust you with their data? If not, it could only be a matter of time before your business makes a damaging headline of its own – so act now!