In the age of cyber trust, robust cyber security is more important than ever


Posted on: April 12, 2018 by Phil Aitchison

According to government data, almost half of all UK firms were victim to a cyber attack in the 12 months leading to April 2017. High-profile attacks such as WannaCry shone a spotlight on vulnerabilities in the public sector too.

With cyber security breaches regularly in the headlines, there are knock-on effects not only on how people think about their own security, but also on the organisations they entrust to safeguard their data. To find out more, we commissioned independent research with over 3,000 service users and customers looking at how attitudes to cyber security are changing. The results, published in our new report, The currency of Cyber Trust, reveal the importance of cyber trust in business today.

Of the people we surveyed, 63% said that recent cyber attacks have made them more aware of the issue of cyber security. While this is probably no surprise, perhaps what’s more significant is that 58% also told us that cyber security is now a deciding factor when choosing which organisations they interact with. And this isn’t necessarily good news for all organisations: 38% of respondents said they do not trust organisations with their personal data.

The value of transparency

The research highlights both the challenge public and private sector organisations now face to retain cyber trust and also the opportunities this presents, namely, to underpin wider trust in your business and act as an enabler for your digital strategy.

Based on the findings, our report sets out steps that organisations can take to gain (or regain) the cyber trust of their customers. This might be something as straightforward as communicating your cyber security policies to your customers, informing them quickly about an attack, and being more transparent about steps to improve security protocols after the breach has occurred.

Help customers to help themselves

We also learned of potentially dangerous knowledge gaps. Cyber security is a technical subject which, between the various acronyms, vectors and protocols, can appear overwhelming to people from a non-IT background – or even those who know their DDoS from their Trojan Horse.

For example, we discovered that most customers (61%) don’t actively stay informed about the latest cyber threats, which means there’s an opportunity – if not a responsibility – for organisations to educate their customers about how better to protect themselves.

Integrating cyber security into user experience

The good news is that most people are willing to compromise on user experience in return for enhanced cyber security, with only 17% not willing to compromise at all. Where the real opportunity lies is in improving cyber security and user experience in parallel. Customers are more likely to accept additional security measures if their digital experience is well designed. But for this, they need to understand the benefits to them, with the necessary guidance and information.

As public concerns about cyber security increase, and with people now ready to walk away from services they don’t trust, there are advantages for organisations who are prepared to differentiate themselves. It’s a question of staying innovative, being transparent and enrolling customers in a partnership to protect both them and the cyber security of your organisation.

To read more, including tips on how to improve your organisation’s approach to cyber security and communicate this to your customers, click here: atos.net/cyber-research-uk.

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About Phil Aitchison

Chief Operating Officer, BDS UK&I
Phil leads the team responsible for the design, build and running of Atos UK&I’s cyber security portfolio. Currently, he is executing our strategy to work with clients to apply cyber security controls into the digital transformation of public services and private sector organisations.Phil has 15 years’ experience in developing and delivering mission-critical infrastructure, cyber resilience and surveillance solutions for critical national infrastructure clients. Educated in Scotland at Strathclyde Business School, Phil also holds a First-class Master’s Degree in Business & Technology from University College Dublin.

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