Over the past six months, the data breaches against companies such as Panera Bread, Delta Airlines and Sears, and Saks have proven we live in an age where cyberattacks and data breaches are now commonplace.
The result? Cybersecurity is no longer just the topic of conversation of tech gurus and IT personnel. It has transitioned into the mainstream conversation and has become a concern of the masses. Consumers are now concerned that the organizations they are conducting business with are proactive about safeguarding their information and how they will fix it if a breach does occur.
More than ever, it has become imperative that executives understand that consumer’s sentiments about the safety of their personal information following a data breach is tied directly to their loyalty to a particular brand.
To understand exactly how consumers view cybersecurity, how they would react following a data breach and what it means for leading organizations, Radware surveyed 3,000 United States consumers. Consumers are now more concerned about having their personal data stolen than physical possessions such as wallets, automobiles or house keys.
And when a company does suffer a data breach, the vast majority of consumers must be convinced that the security issue has been addressed and any damage has been rectified before continuing to do business with the brand. Even worse for the organization’s bottom line, one out of 10 consumers will walk away entirely from the brand.
The impact on businesses is twofold. Whereby companies were once reticent about speaking publically about cybersecurity because it would cause consumers to question their business’s fragility, organizations must now embrace and communicate their ability to safeguard customer data. Forward thinking organizations have the opportunity to use security and due diligence as a competitive differentiator to build trust and loyalty with customers in the face of an increasingly insecure world.
While suffering a data breach is never ideal, the survey also shows that honesty, transparency and a timely emergency response plan is critical. Companies must clearly communicate that a breach has occurred, those likely impacted and planned remediation actions to address the issue. Organizations that don’t admit to compromised consumer records until long after the breach took place suffer the greatest wrath from consumers.
Successful organizations must create a secure climate for customers by embracing technology and cultural change. Security threats and data breaches can seriously impact a customer’s loyalty, thereby damaging the corporate brand, increasing customer churn, and incurring lawsuits. Corporate leaders must recognize the multiple pressures on their organizations to integrate new network technologies, transform their businesses and to defend against cyberattacks. Executives that are willing to embrace technology, cultural change and prioritize cybersecurity will be the ones to win the trust and loyalty of the 21st century consumer.