A majority of America's small business owners aren't worried about being the victim of a cyberattack, ( at least according to a new survey from CNBC and Momentive).
When they finally realize they need a robust security program, it is usually because they have just experienced a breach, lost an important client contract, or had an angry customer threaten to sue them for a data violation.
As Stephane Nappo, Global Chief Information Security Officer, once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.”
Cybersecurity adds a layer of comfort to your operations, so you do not want to wait until it is too late to have an efficient structure in place.
Keep in mind that the real value of cybersecurity does not only lie in preventing malicious attacks. There are more subtle ways it can be leveraged to take your business to the next level and show your customers that you care and take their data seriously.
Here's how cybersecurity can be your next big competitive advantage. Let's jump in.
Since data-driven customer experience became critical, millions of companies have turned to personal information to provide better experiences.
Inevitably, regulatory watchdogs across the globe have stepped in to control the kind of data collected and why, as well as how the information will be processed. With fast advances in the field, organizations that do not keep a close eye on the new rules and regulations might be quite surprised.
In the US, there's no single federal data protection legislation – several states have their own cybersecurity and data breach notification laws. Utah, for instance, is the fourth US state to enact a consumer privacy law in recent years, following in the footsteps of California, Virginia, and Colorado.
The Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA) will take effect in under two years on December 31, 2023. The provisions will apply to organizations with annual revenue of $25m or more that conduct business in Utah – and this also affects businesses run remotely, not just physically.
You might think, "Well, I am based in a different state, so the UCPA will not affect me." But remember that not only can the state departments pursue legal action against companies, but individuals living in that state could file a civil lawsuit against an organization if you have compromised their data, or they feel that you have misused it in some manner.
Last year, T-Mobile USA Inc. was hit with a pair of class-action lawsuits in Washington federal court accusing the telecommunications company of violating the California Consumer Privacy Act. We all know lawsuits are NEVER fun, and even the smallest suits can be financially draining.
If you are not investing in cybersecurity, the message you are sending out is that you do not care about your customers and their privacy – and that can turn into a PR business killer.
A Forbes Insights report found that 46% of organizations had suffered reputational damage as a result of a data breach, and 19% of organizations suffered reputation and brand damage as a result of a third-party security breach.
On average, it takes two years for a business's reputation to recover after a data breach is revealed, according to research by HSBC.
To use cybersecurity as a competitive advantage when it comes to PR, let your clients know how seriously you take the protection of their data. Whether you have a dedicated security page on your website or you create marketing collateral that describes your program and values in detail, show the whole world proudly their data is safe and not misused.
Customers are more likely to gravitate towards businesses that demonstrate they are serious about data security and can protect their privacy. That is one of the reasons why organizations are making security a priority – 69% are increasing their cybersecurity budgets in 2022.
More than 80% of consumers are even willing to walk away and take their business elsewhere if, or when, a data breach occurs.
And if your competitors' clients start leaving because of that, you will be ready to welcome them with open arms. This way, you will keep on reaping the benefits of cybersecurity.
Organizations operating on a business-to-business (B2B) model or some industries such as healthcare and fintech are prone to more intensive and frequent cyber attacks than others.
It is because these sectors could offer more valuable pieces of information to the attackers.
Although security needs to be in the DNA of every business, these companies particularly should adopt the latest tools and technologies to proofread their operations.
Cybersecurity is not only a weapon against hackers – it is also the key to thriving in today's digital world.
Without robust cybersecurity strategies, businesses can also face real challenges finding new clients or investors.
Keep in mind that your future partners will not even consider you are not investing in cybersecurity. Your organization's data security state will be an important decision-maker for potential customers in the coming year.
Do you know that the share prices of companies affected by cyberattacks tend to underperform by 15.6% in the following three years? Adoption of an effective cybersecurity approach can mitigate the risk of losing the value of your stocks, which is highly important considering that a company's stock price reflects investor perception of its ability to earn and grow its profits in the future.
I always say that cybersecurity is a loop and not a line. This means that it is not something you simply adopt once and then never touch again – it is a continuous effort and investment in order to uphold your commitment to your customers and get closer to achieving your business goals.