Cybersecurity: the bodyguard your business needs
With the number of cyberattacks and data breaches expected to increase in 2023, cybersecurity should be a priority for every organization. The rise of hybrid working environments and remote workers presents a greater risk than before, as the number of external devices on a network significantly increases an organization’s attack surface.
Without the right investments in cybersecurity and efforts to stay on top of the latest developments, a business risks losing customer loyalty and damaging revenue streams. This article will examine four ways cybersecurity protocols can add value to your business and boost customer loyalty.
What are cybersecurity protocols?
In the modern climate, every organization should have cybersecurity protocols in place to protect against a potential data breach, malicious attacks, and any other incident relating to a cyber attack.
Data is one of the most important assets of any business, which is why steps need to be taken to secure your systems, ensuring data is not misused while protecting your customers from cybercrime. A data breach can have a significant impact on the long-term future of your business, damaging the reputation of your brand.
Implementing cybersecurity protocols
Implementing cybersecurity protocols isn’t as difficult or expensive as you might think. The benefits of adding these protections to your business can also offer an impressive return on investment in terms of customer loyalty and improved sales, helping to protect your business for the long term.
You should begin by educating your customers about the importance of data privacy and security. Informing your customers ensures they understand how you keep their information safe and how a data breach can affect them directly. This can be achieved with a regular newsletter, blog posts, and documentation that can be easily found online. Having a comprehensive and accessible knowledge base is one of the first steps in building trust with customers.
Asking your customers to fill out surveys in exchange for a reward (such as a discount on a product or service) allows you to ask questions about how they feel about the integrity of their personal and financial data when doing business with your company and what additional security actions they would like to see you take as well. You can include the survey as part of your newsletters, as mentioned above.
Additionally, taking measures such as setting up a virtual private network (VPN) can give your organization an extra level of security by encrypting your network activity to make life more difficult for cybercriminals. However, for comprehensive protection, a VPN is just the beginning.
In addition to educating customers and setting up a VPN, other cybersecurity actions you might consider include:
- Advanced antivirus and anti-malware software
- A firewall
- Multi-factor authentication (2FA) or a zero-trust model
- Penetration testing
- Regular auditing of users, devices, and software
- Sourcing the latest threat intelligence
- Establishing security analysis and maintenance processes
- Implementing an incident response plan
Cybersecurity protocols add value to your business and boost customer loyalty
Here are four ways cybersecurity protocols can add value to your business:
1. Boost customer confidence
Many online users have an impressive level of understanding when it comes to online safety and data protection. This is because many aspects of our lives are now managed online, and cybercrime is covered prominently in the news. Consumer expectations regarding cybersecurity and the protection of their data are extremely high.
If a company suffers a data breach and an individual’s financial details are stolen, then the individual in question is unlikely to ever use that company’s services again — especially in the financial and banking sectors.
This is why the costs of implementing cybersecurity protocols are vastly outweighed by the potential savings of avoiding a cyberattack. In some cases, a business’s reputation can never really recover from such an event, permanently losing the confidence of its client base.
Most cyber insurance providers offer reputation management and cover the cost of compromised customer data should an attack occur. Such insurance, combined with full-scale cyber protection, can play a significant role in securing the loyalty of your customers, who will appreciate the steps being taken to protect them.
2. Drive more sales
An obvious benefit of improved customer loyalty is customers’ willingness to use your services, resulting in increased sales, conversions, and referrals. The growth of an online business is highly dependent on the reputation of its brand and public perception.
Most consumers are only willing to give out their personal information if they strongly trust a company. Most consumers won’t complete a transaction if they feel a website lacks security and encryption, such as a valid SSL certificate.
It’s just equally important for each customer to trust that their transactions are secured. Remind customers that your company adheres to the PCI-DSS compliance standards to ensure their credit card information is always encrypted for each transaction.
A lack of commitment to cybersecurity increases the chance of your current and potential customers choosing your competitors instead.
3. Reduce your expenses
A data breach can potentially cost businesses millions of dollars. Last year, business email compromises cost almost $5 million on average. This type of attack is just one of many, with exploits such as phishing, social engineering, and ransomware becoming more sophisticated year-on-year, making them harder to protect against and having a greater impact on businesses.
As well as the costs of getting your organization back up and running, the lost income during the downtime, and the management of the business’s reputation. The key factor is the loss of customers, which can be substantial depending on the severity of the attack.
4. Increase resilience
The level of cybersecurity implemented within an organization dictates how effective it will be when facing adverse conditions and potential cyberattacks. In fact, it can determine a company’s survival, particularly if the costs of resolving a data breach are beyond its means.
A well-known example of this is the website, MyBizHomepage, a popular service that allowed business owners to monitor their finances. However, three fired senior employees launched a revenge attack on the website, which required over $1 million to resolve the breach. Unfortunately, this proved unsuccessful, and a website that was once valued at $100 million was forced to go offline permanently.
Don’t ignore cybersecurity
Cybersecurity cannot be ignored. The key protocols, plans, rules, actions, and measures must be considered for an effective cyber protection strategy. Although this requires initial investment and ongoing management, the benefits more than make up for this.
Cybersecurity protocols can help to boost customer loyalty and trust, increase sales, reduce long-term expenses, and ensure resilience should a cyber attack occur. If a business does not take the necessary steps to protect its customer’s data, it risks its future.