In this age of security breaches, companies are fighting to protect their networks from attack and working to preserve their company brand. Businesses shoulder a responsibility for protecting the growing volume of private customer information.
Security Breaches Are Costly
IT security breaches are costly; from downtime to response and remediation actions and rebuilding of network systems to return to normal business operations. This is not factoring in any potentially hefty fines for non-compliance with regulations or legal costs. Beyond the financial costs, security breaches can significantly damage consumers’ trust.
It’s not just the large enterprise companies that are on the receiving end of attacks. While larger companies may see massive financial losses they tend to have more resources at their disposal to recover from a breach. Larger companies also have the ability to throw resources into rebuilding their brand and regaining customer trust.
SMBs Hardest Hit By Breaches
Smaller and mid-sized businesses are hit the hardest when it comes to security breaches. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost following a breach is $690,000 for small businesses and over $1 million for mid-sized companies.
A sobering 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months after a cyber attack according to the U.S’ National Cyber Security Alliance.
Breach of Trust
Not only can the financial impacts be crippling, the damage to the company brand can seriously hinder consumer trust in the long term. The problem is that it is harder for smaller companies to build and maintain trust to compete with larger, well-recognized and long-established brands. Massive data breaches, the likes of Equifax, Best Buy, Target etc. below, negatively impacted consumer trust, but luckily for these larger companies have the brand and financial power to recover.
How Do You Protect Your Company Brand and Customers?
Trust Is Key
Like in any relationship, trust is the key to building a long-lasting relationship between a company and its customers. Brand loyalty and trust these days is more than simply consistently positive customer experience and product satisfaction. Trust is now tied in with security as it relates to transactions and customer information. Customers need to feel that their personal information will be “safe” in the hands of the company they are handing it over to. A security breach can translate into a breach of trust.
Research shows that the more trust a shopper has in a brand, the more personal data they are willing to share. In turn, the more personal data they share the more the company can tailor the experience to the customer and work to deliver excellent services to continue the relationship. Simply put, trust is good for business.
In this digital age, trust now comes down to how brands handle their customers’ personal data. Customers need to feel that their information will be handled appropriately, and solely for the purposes that the information is being provided for. Brands runs the risk of losing customers if they are not transparent about why and how they are collecting and using data.
In the United States, 79% of respondents will not hesitate to “break up” with a brand if their data is used in a way other than to improve their shopping experience, according to a SAP Hybris survey (Global 2017 SAP Hybris Consumer Insights Report).
In the event of a breach or potential breach, companies cannot be complacent. Consumers expect honesty and transparency when it comes to being informed about any potential privacy or data breach concerns. Not only do companies need to be able to resolve a breach, they need to adequately communicate with consumers or risk further brand damage and loss of trust.
Tighten Up Security
Businesses have to work hard to earn and maintain customer trust and brand loyalty. But how do you gain this trust? Better security is the answer. The possibility of a data breach or cyber attack is very real for businesses of all sizes. To stay in business, companies need to prioritize security investments to keep ahead of data breaches. Security and data breaches negatively impacting consumer trust and in turn, the company brand.
Customers want assurance that any financial transaction is secure and their personal data is protected. For this to be possible, companies need to protect their systems at every layer and level, across all potential attack surfaces: point of sales systems, online payment gateways, network security, internet security, application security, information security, end-point security.
To truly protect all customer transactions, information and data, businesses need to be committed to good security.