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24 Oct 2023

The importance of cyber security in winning customers

Most companies and execs see cyber security as a cost. Some feel it’s a burden. But can it win customers? Our research suggests the answer is Yes. We reveal how.

Cybercriminals are increasing the volume of assaults; phishing attacks alone have increased by 800%* in the last 4 years – and now the bad guys are using AI to add more sophistication to their bombardment. 

The resources needed to defend an organisation are also growing. No wonder some businesses with limited resources struggle to see the value. It must seem like a battle they cannot win. Often, the answer is to keep their fingers crossed and hope they don’t get hit.

But cyber security can win you customers; so it’s an investment, not a cost.

Our research shows that on average 60% of men and women are more concerned about their personal data than a year ago. So, an organisation that actively promotes its tight security will gain a competitive advantage over rivals.

Why is cyber security important to customers?

The media seems increasingly interested in reporting cyber attacks. The scale and ingenuity of tech criminals can make sadistic reading. But in addition to creating greater awareness of personal data risks (a good thing), it also makes consumers increasingly nervous about sharing information.

Our research shows only 7% of consumers are less concerned about their personal data now than a year ago. The vast majority (93%) either have the same level of concern or are more concerned.

Handing credit cards, CVs, and other personal data to an organisation is more worrying for the average consumer now.

And it’s clear that some age groups have a higher level of concern. In the charts below, the over-50 age group is at least 10 points clear of other ages. Older women seem particularly worried, 75% are more concerned compared to 62% of men.

Women: How concerned are you about personal data compared to a year ago?

Although men of all ages are more concerned about data privacy than previously, it's interesting to note that a higher proportion of men are less concerned than women. Are men more cavalier with their personal data? Or are women more cautious?

Men: How concerned are you about personal data compared to a year ago?

The level of concern is significant even in age groups that are typically considered to be more cyber-savvy. 51% of men and 53% of women aged 21-34 have greater concern about their personal data than 12 months ago.

Display your cyber badges with pride

Organisations targeting the 50+ age group, such as Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Travel & Tourism, Financial Services, Insurance or Legal Services, would do well to display their cybersecurity credentials and accreditations prominently in their marketing.

We live in a world where comparing suppliers online seems an everyday task. Organisations that show customers their data is in safe hands will create a differentiator that could swing the balance before they click Send.

ISO27001, Cyber Essential Plus and other accreditation or security badges will give customers a degree of comfort.

Does your industry store sensitive data?

Undoubtedly, some sectors are more of a target for cybercriminals than others, and some sectors have a higher degree of data incidents.
The ICO releases information on cyber and data incidents every quarter (you can access a synopsis of the Oct-Dec 2022 stats in our infographic titled 'official data security incidents').

You are more at risk if you are in one of the following industries. We recommend getting the maximum cyber protection as a way to win customer confidence:

  • Healthcare
  • Banking & Finance
  • Retail & E-commerce
  • Insurance
  • Education
  • Utilities
  • Recruitment

You’re not too small to be attacked

Many companies believe they are too small to be of interest to a cyber bad guy. First of all, it’s not a guy. It’s a team of people who spend their entire day trying to hack systems and develop new tactics.

Secondly, they now have AI. So, the scale and breadth of attacks have increased. Adding your organisation to their list is just another line in their spreadsheet. Easy.

Finally, it may not be you they want. It’s access to your more prominent clients and suppliers. 

In August, the Metropolitan police were on high alert after a security breach involving the IT system of one of their suppliers. The force said the supplier had access to names, ranks, photos, vetting levels and pay numbers for officers and staff. 

You could be a conduit to attack clients – and how damaging would that be to the relationship?

* Source = Anti-phishing Working Group, Q3 2018-Q3 2022


cyber security score sheet

Get your cyber security score

Tick 14 questions on our Cyber Security Checklist, and we'll give you a % score on your organisation's security. What will your score be?

Just 14 questions, but if you're unsure of the answers, pass them to your IT Manager or contact us and we'll help, Knowing the weak areas in your cyber security is better than letting the cybercriminals tell you!

Oh, and it's free. You don't even need to fill in a form.

Graham Smith

By Graham Smith