In a study on the link between how cybersecurity is used and business success, a full 86% of respondents from high-growth companies said that they see information security as an enabler of new business opportunities, rather than simply a means of defense.
Vodafone’s Cyber Security: The Innovation Accelerator report, which gathered responses from more than 1,400 businesses globally, showed a number of perceived benefits that strong cybersecurity can bring to the relationship between an organization and its customers. For instance, 89% of businesses said that improving cybersecurity would enhance customer loyalty and trust, while 90% said it would enhance their reputation in the market, potentially attracting new customers. Meanwhile, 89% said they felt better information security was a competitive differentiator that would help them win customers.
Further, organizations that use cloud technology or the internet of things (IoT) report greater returns from the way they use cybersecurity. IoT adopters report a 24% increase in financial benefits from having strong cybersecurity, including improvements to their business agility.
Clearly, the inverse is also true in terms of poor security impacting brand identities, as seen in the Equifax debacle. Thus it’s no surprise that the study found that more demanding customer requirements and the awareness of rising cyber-threats are driving an increase in cybersecurity budgets, with 87% of businesses expecting to increase spending on cybersecurity in the next three years, and 10% of companies expecting budgets to double.
However, 41% of security decision-makers across industry sectors were uncertain about where best to find help in dealing with cybersecurity challenges. The engineering and construction sector was the most uncertain with 52% of organizations unsure of where to turn for advice. The research also showed particular challenges for smaller businesses with 60% of smaller companies feeling poorly informed about security.
Interestingly, attitudes to the likelihood of cyber-threats impacting an organization vary across geographies. Only 55% of Italian business worry about cybersecurity affecting their business, while in the US and Singapore that number rises to 73%. Smaller businesses are most concerned about permanent loss of data, while larger organizations are most concerned with regulation and compliance issues.
“Cybersecurity 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,” said Vodafone Group head of Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy & Innovation, Andrzej Kawalec. “It is giving businesses greater confidence in opening up new markets and introducing new services. While we are seeing a desire to create cyber-ready organizations, companies are not sure about who best can help them. I believe that the most successful companies will be the ones which design in security from the start and use it as springboard.”