IT pros and CEOs alike are acutely aware of the need for strong cybersecurity. They’ve seen the stats, such as that yet another organization falls victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds, and they know all too well that even one successful attack could force their business to a standstill for weeks, or even shutter it entirely.
But if your organization views cybersecurity as just another IT expense — as merely a means for protecting against imminent external and internal cybersecurity threats — you’re missing out. The fact is, cybersecurity can also play a vital role in driving business growth. Here are just three reasons that organizations with a robust cybersecurity strategy have a strong competitive edge over those that do not.
1. Consumers are becoming more savvy about security.
With cyber attacks and security breaches constantly in the news, consumers are increasingly wary of digital services and products, whether they are offered by a large enterprise or a small business. Indeed, one survey found that even back in 2014, 84% of customers would abandon a purchase if their data was going to be sent over an unsecure connection. In more recent research by Vodafone, 89% of executives said that improving their cybersecurity would enhance customer loyalty and trust.
2. Partners demand cybersecurity.
Potential business partners and investors will also want to make sure you have proper security measures in place before they establish and expand their relationships with you.
3. Cybersecurity is essential for other initiatives.
A strong cybersecurity strategy provides the foundation required to seize opportunities like migrating data and applications to the cloud, offering managed services, and expanding into a more global business.
Tips for success
Of course, gaining these benefits requires doing cybersecurity right. Here are some tips for success:
- Stay flexible — Remember that cybersecurity isn’t a once-and-done thing. The threat landscape, your IT ecosystem and your business needs are constantly evolving, and your cybersecurity strategy needs to keep up.
- Adapt best practices to meet your unique needs — There are many resources to help you build improve security, including best-practices guides and well-defined frameworks. But you can’t simply plug in a standard cybersecurity strategy, or even one that works for another organization. You need to understand your organization’s requirements and infrastructure and adapt accordingly.
- Involve your leadership —Building a sound program requires strong collaboration between IT and the C-suite. Executives can provide a clear and broad understanding of the organization’s current priorities and strategic goals to inform cybersecurity initiatives, along with the sponsorship required for proper funding and other resources to ensure they are completed in a timely manner. To get executives on board, IT teams need to show how cybersecurity can prevent costly data breaches and compliance fines, as well as drive other financial benefits.
- Be comprehensive — A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy covers a lot of ground, including data management, business process management (BPM), enterprise risk planning (ERP), user authorization, data sharing and protection, and vulnerability assessment and prevention.