The virtuous circle of cybersecurity in transport


Posted on: August 7, 2018 by Theo Quick

Gone are the days when getting from A to B involved standing out in the rain, waiting for a bus and counting out change. Today, the multitude of readily-available ‘open data’ means that travellers can rely on mobile apps, to not only find the most suitable form of transport for their journey and how much it will cost, but to anticipate when it will arrive, how long it will take and pay using their mobile phone. In other words, plan an entire journey door to door and keep them informed throughout.

All this, of course, requires significant amounts of data to be exchanged between the customer and the transport operator, leaving in its wake a data trail which operators can in turn use to improve and up-sell their services.

But the challenge for transport operators to achieve this is that customers must be willing to give access to their data in the first place, which is not as straightforward as it sounds. Increasingly discerning citizens are more aware than ever of the risk of cybersecurity breaches, and wanting greater control of the use of their personal information. Thus, the virtuous circle.

With high-profile cyber attacks on organizations across almost all sectors continuing to hit the headlines, convincing customers to use an organization’s digital services, and therefore contribute to the overall data pool, doesn’t come easy.

Consumer expectation

We spoke to over 3,000 UK citizens, to find out more about their attitude towards cybersecurity. Amongst other things, we found that 66% of people expect the organization to take responsibility for fully protecting them.

So what do consumers expect from transport operators? Across the board, awareness of cyber crime is rising; consumers have therefore become more savvy and expect more sophisticated protection to be in place.

Transport organisations are no exception. 39% expect to see transport companies using data encryption, particularly as 1 in 3 consider transport services to be at high risk of attack. It is also no surprise that 1 in 4 customers say their location data is valuable to them.

Consumer retention

With customer retention front-of-mind for transport operators and the digitalisation of transport well underway, these expectations are not to be taken lightly. Only 1 in 4 would trust an organization enough to deal with them again if they did fall victim to a cyber attack; so for businesses such as airlines, where consumer loyalty is extremely valuable, a breach could have significant financial repercussions.

And it’s not just airlines that should take note.

Although the monopoly of certain train companies in parts of the country means that often the consumer has no choice, travellers may still decide to use a personal car if they felt their data was not being held securely by a train provider, for instance. This would of course represent a step backwards when it comes to environmental policies the government is trying to implement.

In short, customer data security should underpin the transport ecosystem, whatever the mode of transport. As the ways we travel become increasingly digitalised, our journeys become ever-smoother and more efficient. But it’s up to transport operators to put the measures in place to ensure we get there securely, too.

The currency of cyber trust

This blog is part of our report on the currency of cyber trust in transport. We discuss findings from 3,000 citizens in the UK on their attitudes toward cybersecurity on personal risk, responsibilities and their overall experience.

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About Theo Quick

Vice President and Global Market Leader for Transportation and Hospitality
With over 20 years working with clients in the road, rail, aviation, logistics, automotive and hospitality markets, Theo Quick is VP and Global Market Leader for Transportation and Hospitality where he is responsible for defining the strategy and driving Digital Transformation for the customers of Atos. Theo has always been at the forefront of technology, transforming the market. For example, in 2013, Theo launched the Intelligent Mobility Technology Roadmap for the UK’s Automotive Council, a joint Government and industry body. This roadmap paved the way for the UK Government’s investment into Autonomous Vehicles and Theo remains on a number of Advisory boards for some of the UK’s Autonomous Vehicle projects to this day. Theo believes that the transportation market is now experiencing the most change since the invention of the petroleum engine. Advances in communications, data availability and ICT capabilities are all enabling new business processes and models.

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