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Cybersecurity: CX Threat or Opportunity

The increased pace of digital transformation, due to the COVID pandemic, has drastically changed the cybersecurity landscape.  The potential impact of these changes and their ramifications for CX are significant. Organisations who can maintain a safe and secure digital environment for their customers, will have a substantial advantage over competitors who can’t.  

A survey conducted earlier in the year highlighted that 95% of security professionals are facing added IT security challenges due to the coronavirus. These challenges have emerged rapidly across the globe and stem from:

  1. Remote work: mandated lockdowns have accelerated the transition of employees to work from home.
  2. Extensive use of collaboration: with face-to-face meetings no longer possible, people have been using collaboration tools such as Zoom, Teams, and Slack, more than ever before.
  3. Increased pace of digital transformation and investment in cloud—A recent survey by Fortune magazine showed that 75% of Fortune 500 CEOs said the crisis has forced their companies to accelerate their technological transformation with cloud resources at the top.

This increased use of digital technology to manage more and more transactions and interactions online has heightened the level of cyber security risks. In its insight report on COVID-19, the World Economic Forum found that out of 350 of the world’s top risk professionals, 50% are worried by cyberattacks and data fraud due to a sustained shift in  working patterns.

Why security is so important to CX

Privacy and knowing that their data is safe and secure, is very important to costumers. They will reward, and punish, organisations they believe do or don’t protect their privacy through strong data security.  A CX Network survey revealed that the majority of respondents understand that secure data is a chief expectation among customers, with over 54 per cent stating that it is “very important”.

Covid 19 has elevated people’s need to feel safe and secure. So any security breach now, is likely to have a far more significant impact on a brands reputation and revenue than prior to the pandemic.

According to a 2017 Ponemon Institite study a data breach is one of the top threats to the reputation and brand value of a business. A company with a poor reputation will struggle to attract and retain quality talent, find investors or partners and most of all it will struggle to attract and engage potential customers.  

Organisations need to be transparent in the way they manage customer data and have strong policies and procedures in place to ensure it’s secure.

Customers share information with brands they trust

On the other hand, the more a customer trusts a brand and the level of security they provide around data, the more willing they are to share their details and information. The company can then use this information to offer more personalised customer experiences. Customers are willing to share personal data if they can receive more personalised and convenient levels of service. 

Organisations need to be transparent in the way they manage customer data and have strong policies and procedures in place to ensure it’s secure. Helping customers understand the context for why the data is being collected and how it will be used will add to their acceptance.

The more data an organisation has about its customers, the more opportunities it has to offer a personalised experience. However, at the same time, the more data an organisation has, the likelihood of it being used maliciously increases. Every employee working with customer data needs to consider their treatment of data very carefully.

The coming threats

Successful cyber-attacks and security breaches can strike any organisation, regardless of shape, size and function. Private companies (large and small), public corporations, government departments and authorities have all been thrown into chaos due to some attack or security breach. Common threats come in the form of mobile malware, spear phishing, denial of service attacks, botnets, ransomware and advanced persistent threats (APT).

The greatest threats in the future are likely to come from unexpected quarters and have the potential, as more of the world is digitally connected, to have far greater impact.  Advances in technology, such as AI and machine learning, will exacerbate the problem. As new technology evolves malicious players will have access to more sophisticated tools to cause damage with.

Customer loyalty is built on trust.  

The consequences of losing customer data or a security breach could be immeasurable. The impact of the pandemic has heightened consumer concerns. As well as ensuring that CX teams understand the risks, they need to have adequate processes and procedures for ensuring customer data is secure.  Cyber security is no longer something that just IT teams need to worry about. It has broader business ramifications, such as widespread customer dissatisfaction.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.