Most business leaders think about security as a cost. It is hard to demonstrate positive returns on security investments, which makes it a “cost” issue. Even people who work with securing information often struggle with answering the simple and very reasonable question: “where is the business benefit?”
What if you turn it around, and view security as a selling point? It may not be the driver of revenue growth today – but it may very well be an important prerequisite for growth tomorrow. Here are three issues that can help clarify why keeping your data and systems secure will be necessary for the days to come if you want your business to grow:
- Your customers will not trust you with their data if you cannot keep it safe from hackers and criminals. The GDPR will even make it illegal to not secure customer data in a reasonable manner if you do business in Europe from 2018. If you don’t secure your customers’ data and also show them why they can trust you to do so, people will increasingly take their business elsewhere.
- If you operate in the B2B world, the number of suppliers and buyers setting requirements to their supply chain partners is growing. They will not buy from you unless you can show that you satisfy some minimum security requirements – including keeping tabs on risks and vulnerabilities. This is true for engineering firms, for consultancies, for banks, for betting operators, for retail stores, and so on. You’d better be prepared to demonstrate you satisfy those requirements.
- You will get hacked. Seriously, it is going to happen one day. Then you’d better be prepared for handling it, which means you need to have invested in security and trained for these events. It is like mandatory fire drills – if you don’t do them, our evacuation during a fire is less likely to be successful. Companies handling being hacked in a good way respond quickly, inform third parties and the public in a way that has been thought out and tested up front, and generally limit the damage that hackers can do. This mitigates the risk that your customers will lose all trust in you. You live to do business another day. The companies that haven’t prepared? Sometimes they never recover, or at least their short-term growth will be seriously threatened.
Viewing security as a growth component rather than as a cost issue turns the discussion around. It allows you to go from “reactive” to “proactive.” Securing your business is a core business process – this is the focus you can achieve when security becomes a unique selling point rather than a budget constraint.