Getting your cyber security and protocols in good shape will not only help protect your company, but it will also help you retain and win business.
With firms increasingly aware of just how interconnected they have become, being able to prove your business has the right security and policies in place will make it an even more attractive partner.
The first step of course, is finding the right cyber security expert to help you achieve just that.
Handle data with care
Studies show the majority of customers are uncomfortable with how businesses use their personal or company data.
While that data can be an asset to your business, ethical and security considerations should be paramount. Get this wrong and you risk customers and partners taking their business elsewhere.
The biggest risk to the data under your care is your business falling victim to a cyber security breach. While experts will tell you a breach is inevitable, you need to do everything in your power to minimise the chance of it happening – and to let everyone know that.
You also need to be clear what you would do in the event of such an emergency. Achieve all that, and you will give confidence to everyone who deals with you.
Trust is hard won and easily lost
No matter how strong your brand, how great your product, how good your delivery and how brilliant your services and people, a potential Achilles heel is your digital reputation.
Trust in a digital world is hard won, and there are few better representations of how trustworthy a business is than how it deals with safeguarding customer’s data.
While many chief executives will agree with the above apparently only a quarter are confident their business is handling sensitive data responsibly. Which means there is work to be done.
A study by digital security experts Gemalto of 10,000 consumers found 70 percent would stop doing business with a company if it experienced a data breach.
Remember, caring about your customers’ data and privacy is a marketable asset.
If you are pro-active, you can prosper where others fail
As we said above, caring about your customers’ data and privacy is a marketable asset that can help you win trust and keep it.
If you are doing all the right things, tell your supply chain and tell your customers. Cyber security is not just a defensive measure.
You must be able to walk the walk, before you start talking the talk about how seriously you take your digital space and the data within it.
But when you are sure, be aware it is an increasingly powerful tool in winning contracts with cyber-aware customers and especially government organisations.
It could be the difference in landing a deal.
Think about cyber security accreditation like a kite mark. Start seeing cyber security not as a cost but an investment that will provide a return.
What to do now?
Find a cyber security expert that can understand your business, that has a track record of delivering, that can develop a strategy for your business and has a reputation that will benefit your business.
CDS Defence and Security has built its own business advising firms on how to reach the highest standards in order to win government and defence contracts, but it will also do the same for SMEs operating in all manner of markets.
If you find an expert who can get under the skin of your business, they will help identify where its cyber weaknesses are, where your staff need training, what aspects of what you do are most vulnerable.
As you move forward your business intelligence will grow and you will be able to work together as a team and mitigating risk will be part of what you do.
A good cyber security expert will also be able to help you identify the weaknesses in your supply chain and advise on what to do about them. One bad link could impact on all your hard work, and a little advice to a client could help further cement a valuable relationship.
Remember, if your business is looking at its supply chain like this, they will also be looking at you.
If you can give them all the right answers, your relationships will get stronger and confidence in your business will spread.