Cyber security is more important than ever

In a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has seen our personal and professional lives so greatly disrupted, and with economic conditions so challenging, why should businesses invest precious time and resources in bolstering their cyber security?  

For one, the way we work is changing. In June an all-time high 38 per cent of employees worked exclusively from home, opening up a whole new set of vulnerabilities.

For another, the pandemic has caused a significant shift to on-line commerce and social interaction. At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and better aware of their ‘digital footprint’.  

With the advent of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), personal data, privacy and informed consent are much more widely understood now.  

Studies by organisations such as PWC, Gartner and KPMG have found that, on the whole, consumers do not trust businesses all that much. A majority (60 per cent) believe companies should protect their sensitive personal data, but only 25 per cent believe that they actually do.

Worryingly for SMEs, the level of trust drops significantly with organisation size, with small businesses and start-ups seen as much less capable than larger enterprises.  

This statistic matters, because 88 per cent of consumers say that levels of trust are intertwined with their willingness to engage with a company. 

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their ‘digital footprint’.

In short, if customers don’t trust you to handle their data securely, they won’t deal with you, meaning that organisations have a much greater need to both safeguard consumer data and visibly respond to cyber issues and breaches.

So, we return then to the question of why investment in cyber security is important right now.

The answer is that both the pace of digitalisation and consumer cyber-awareness are being accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and so the need for companies to possess robust cyber security credentials and communicate them to their customer base is paramount.  

The momentum shift has already begun and businesses are racing to keep up. Digital communications strategies are being brought forward by more than five years on average.

The usual log-jams (lack of clear strategy, getting executive approval, reluctance to replace legacy software, and lack of time) are falling away. At the same time, just over three-quarters (77 per cent) of UK businesses said that Covid-19 had actually increased their budget for digital transformation.

In order to remain competitive, it is vital that organisations respond to the change in behaviour and expectations of their target audience and advance the ways they communicate with customers and transact business.  

The Lancashire Cyber Foundry (LCF) team is keen to talk to Lancashire businesses about how they can adopt cyber security best practice and embed it as part of their broader business strategy.  LCF was created to share the expertise of Lancaster University with businesses, prepare them for their digital future and help them engage with the region's Cyber Security providers. 

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