Growth November 9, 2021 Last updated November 9th, 2021 2,167 Reads share

How a Strong Cybersecurity Posture Can be a Strategy to Attract and Retain Customers

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The benefits of a cybersecurity strategy go beyond security validation and a stronger security posture. Not many may think about it, but organizations can enjoy customer attraction and retention benefits when they adopt a strong cybersecurity stance. 

A study in 2020 explored the links between cyberattacks and consumer behavior and found telling details about the importance of enterprise security. The study, which surveyed nearly 2,000 consumers in North America and Europe, found that 59 percent of buyers are likely to avoid doing business with an organization that has suffered a cyber attack in the past twelve months. 

Real-world data would show that an organization’s security posture matters. In achieving excellent cybersecurity, the use of WAF and purple teaming prove to be one of the relatively new but highly effective tools, and its positive impact extends to better customer perception.

Fortifying security controls

With the current cyber threat landscape, merely having security controls in place is not enough. It is important to have security validation as an essential part of an organization’s security posture. Having the best antivirus, privacy monitoring tools, secrets managers, or web application firewalls do not create actual benefits if they are not working the way they are designed to. 

A reputable web application firewall or WAF security would be one means of securing active and legacy apps, third-party applications, cloud services, containers, APIs, and microservices. However, the question is whether these will work flawlessly all of the time. To make sure that defects or malfunctions are detected and addressed promptly, regular and preferably continuous security testing is recommended. 

One of the best security validation strategies is purple teaming, which is often regarded as the combination of red and blue teams. It is not exactly the combination of red and blue teams, though. It does not result in the creation of a new team, but it institutes a new mentality when it comes to testing the efficacy of existing security controls. It emphasizes the adversarial perspective and enables a degree of collaboration between the defense and attack teams without making them a single entity or fully acquainted with everything the two teams are doing. 

As InfoSec Institute cybersecurity researcher Howard Poston explains, “the complexity of modern web applications means that they contain a large number of unknown vulnerabilities.” Purple team exercises are used to ensure the effective identification of previously unknown vulnerabilities and security gaps within a system, especially a highly complex one, by employing offensive capabilities combined with the internal visibility and defensive knowledge of the blue team. 

Security testing especially with purple teaming results in better cyber defense that, in turn, creates advantages not only for an organization but also for its customers. Early adopters of this approach have been unwittingly enjoying better business outcomes especially as they improve customer confidence through their reliable security postures.

Boosting customer confidence

Going back to the study cited earlier, it is worth noting how customers view dependable cybersecurity as an important factor in deciding to try or patronize a business. Potential buyers are not only keen on the quality of products or services being offered. They are also concerned about the security of their transactions. 

Almost 90 percent of customers regard trustworthiness as an important factor in dealing with a business. Before they buy a product or pay for a service, they want to have the assurance that they are dealing with a legitimate business. This trustworthiness is not only demonstrated by the longevity of a company. The history of a business in preventing and dealing with cyber attacks also factors in. 

On the other hand, the study found that over 66 percent of consumers are likely to switch to a competitor if a company is unable to restore its systems and apps within three days after a cyberattack. Consumers will not wait forever for the online store they have been frequenting to restore their operations. 

The online marketplace is vast, and consumers can and will find a new store that can provide for their needs after a limited waiting time. Customer loyalty is very limited online. The study also indicates that over a third of the respondents in the study say that they would switch to a different store or service provider if they fail to access a site or make a transaction within 24 hours. 

Even businesses that seem to have virtually captive customers are not immune to cybersecurity-related customer departure and switching to competitors. Banks and financial service companies, in particular, are projected to lose nearly half of their customers “immediately upon experiencing a ransomware-related event,” which prevents customers from transacting or accessing information. 

In the telecommunications industry, around 43 percent say that they would find a new communications product or service if their current provider is associated with data security problems and other cybersecurity issues.

Bad security experiences mean bad PR

Moreover, security breaches and other untoward cybersecurity incidents are not something customers ignore or downplay. They are unlikely to stay silent about their bad experiences with the bad security system of an online store or the website of a company in general. An overwhelming majority of them are expected to share their experiences with others, which means a PR nightmare for a business that has just suffered a security breach. 

“The potential damage doesn’t stop during or shortly thereafter a cyber attack event. More than eight in ten respondents admit to sharing their negative, ransomware-related experiences with family, friends, or colleagues, posting about their experiences online, or emailing about the incidents,” according to the cyber attack and consumer behavior study. 

This reputational damage can be avoided by having a solid security posture, which does not only mean having the right security tools and measures in place but also doing testing or validation procedures to ascertain their efficacy.

Indirect but effective

Some will probably assail the points presented here for being far-fetched, but it is undeniable that purple teaming can provide palpable security benefits that matter to consumers. Cybersecurity is no longer a small industry that focuses on preventing losses and disruptions in business operations. It is now a necessity almost every organization should take into account.

 

A history of security breaches, online theft, and other digital attacks does not bode well for businesses in the age of online shopping and the inevitability for consumers to maintain online digital presences. No consumer would want to be involved in a business that can expose them to risks.

Roger Dutta

Roger Dutta

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