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Cyber security is an opportunity not a cost

Exploring three reasons why cyber security should be viewed as an potential business differentiator

Did you know that even though nine out of ten business leaders say they see the link between cyber security and business benefits, less than a quarter (24%) are truly ‘Cyber Ready’.

Vodafone's 2018 Cyber Ready Barometer research demonstrates that there is value in cyber security investment, beyond the strengthening of your networks’ defences. In fact, there’s a strong link between security and business success, which 90% of decision-makers agree they can identify.

And yet, even though business leaders say they see the correlation between cyber security and business benefits, only 24% of organisations are truly ‘Cyber Ready’ today – meaning adequately equipped to deal with the threats inherent in the digital landscape and rapidly return to normal operation should the worst happen.

This means most organisations aren’t listening to their own instincts and prioritising investing in security to the degree they should be.

Watch the 2018 Vodafone Cyber Ready Barometer video.

So to validate business leaders’ thoughts, we’ve put together three reasons why cyber security should be viewed as an opportunity and not simply a cost:

1. Enable innovation

The digital age has brought us many new technologies and working practices which have driven operational efficiencies and opened up new sources of revenue.

Businesses are taking advantage of this: 83% are using multiple cloud technologies, 48% are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) devices and 43% have enacted a ‘bring your own device’ policy in the workplace. The benefits of using new forms of technology and ways of working are manifest, but they also bring greater vulnerability to your business from a cyber security standpoint.

IoT, for instance, allows you to turn everyday objects into sensors helping you understand customer behaviour and experience. But each connected object must also be effectively secured. Inherently good cyber security practices allow you to make use of the best new technologies on offer, driving speed and efficiency within your business and helping you to stay ahead of your competition.

And aside from enabling you to bring more innovation in, cyber security also empowers you to develop more innovative techniques yourself.

Protection from cyber threats and a pro-active security mindset can give your organisation a sense of confidence. It puts you in a posture that says you’re confident and ready for anything because security is always a key consideration – this is a vital component of allowing employees to think and innovate freely.

In our research, the Cyber Ready Index assessed the readiness levels of over 1500 businesses worldwide.  We found 68% of the businesses scoring on the top 5% of our Cyber Ready Index described themselves as “more focused on innovation” than their competitors.

On top of this, 65% considered themselves better able to be customer centric than rivals, and 59% thought that they were building a digital advantage. This clearly highlights the link between cyber security and enabling innovation.

2. Improved stakeholder trust

According to the Cyber Ready Barometer, the higher an organisation’s ‘Cyber Ready’ metric, the greater the level of trust they will receive from stakeholders. This is unsurprising. Customers feel more confident relying on businesses that have are known to have strong cyber security defences in place - 89% of decision makers identify reputational gains from cyber security. And a strong reputation among customers and the public leads to better business performance – which is good for stakeholders.

There’s also the fact other stakeholders, like shareholders and employees, know the business is less likely to be affected by an embarrassing and costly hack – like those plaguing big corporations in the last year. The research found 77% of employees and IT and security decision makers from businesses of all sizes believe being confident in their security helps their organisation be ready for the future.

Cyber security is key to making people feel certain about the future success of your business.

3. Customers value cyber security

The majority (59%) of consumers surveyed stated they are willing to pay extra for more secure services and devices. Again, it comes down to a sense of confidence. Consumers want to feel that they can go about their business safely while they’re online – and they are willing to invest in that sense of security.

Businesses, particularly small businesses, can capitalise upon this. But the consumer desire for security is not widely known:  the Cyber Ready barometer reveals that only 27% of small business respondents expect financial benefits from being able to charge a higher price for better cyber security.

For nimble, secure, smaller businesses, focusing on becoming Cyber Ready and using it as a differentiator could be a big opportunity to pull ahead of less ready rivals. A value investment in the future Cyber security should be seen as an opportunity and a value investment rather than just a cost. Getting it right brings about numerous business benefits by enabling innovation in the organisation and through new technology. And the sense of confidence that being Cyber Ready instils in everyone – stakeholders, the public, and the customer – is not to be overlooked.

Consumers are happy to pay a premium to feel secure, and stakeholders find it easier to trust the business. These are three very good reasons to view security as a valuable investment, in addition to the basic fact that strong security reduces your risk of a data breach and other threats.

Altogether, it’s clear that adopting the right mentality, focusing on readiness and resilience and prioritising cyber security investment alongside other revenue streams is an indispensable foundation for business success – now, and especially in the future.

Find out more about becoming Cyber Ready

Vodafone’s 2018 Cyber Ready Barometer research demonstrates that there is great potential and value in cyber security investment, beyond the strengthening of your businesses’ defences and peace of mind. Read the full report.

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