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


Posted on: Apr 12, 2018 by Sandy Forrest

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 Sandy Forrest

Client Executive Cybersecurity
Sandy Forrest is the Client Executive responsible for coordinating end-to-end cyber security capability (advice, services and products) across Atos UK and Ireland. For the preceding seven years, he oversaw the delivery of IT Services to the UK’s National Security and Intelligence organisations, and for the London 2012 Olympics was the liaison between Atos (as IT Partner for the Games), the Intelligence Agencies and the Olympic Security Directorate. He served on the UK Government’s Olympic Cyber Security Advisory Group and sat on the Mayor of London’s Cyber Security Advisory Panel. Before joining Atos, Sandy set up and ran the overarching healthcare regulator, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (now subsumed into the Professional Standards Authority for health and social care) and was CEO of NHS 24. Prior to that, he was a Chief Police Officer in Scotland, latterly a Deputy Chief Constable in the role of HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary

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