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The Tech Shield, India: Senior Director at Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work Says Consumer Trust and Cyber Security Must Become Boardroom Issues

“This era of extreme personalization has a dark side, in that we are more vulnerable than ever to online fraud or theft and data breaches,” writes Manish Bahl. “In today’s ever more connected world, our data footprint is getting larger and larger. While this is a fantastic development, it means that a single security breach on one device can infect an entire network, as multiple devices are often interconnected on a home or business network.” Excerpts:

“As the IoT becomes ever more defined, it will be increasingly critical to win consumers’ trust; however, such a process will also become harder. This is illustrated by the fact that in a recent survey, 57% of Asia Pacific-based consumers said they would completely turn their back on a company if they were to suffer any breach of their data.

The impact of broken trust can be highly insidious; Forbes Insights noted that 46% of the organizations it surveyed had lost face in the eyes of the public, and had their brand value tarnished, due to a data breach.

When it comes to security, too many organizations seem to adopt a reactive, rather than proactive, approach. According to our latest research, Asia-Pacific leaders trail behind their global competitors in prioritizing cyber security.

It is estimated that cyber-attacks will cost businesses as much as US$400 billion per annum through 2021. To put things in perspective, that’s more than the GDP of roughly 160 of the 196 countries in the world.

It is essential that cyber security becomes a top agenda point for boardroom discussions, so that concrete decisions can be made. Trust itself must become a boardroom issue, as it has a direct correlation with bottom-line benefits. It is only by making consumer trust a business KPI metric that is capable of being measured can it become a viable asset that adds value to a firm.

To win, organizations need to recognize, understand, and proactively manage potential issues as they are spotted.

These days one of the most significant threats to companies comes from within; namely, the need to win and retain consumer trust. Consumers do not just expect that businesses will put their interests ahead of everything else; they demand it. If they feel that their trust levels are taking a hit, more likely than not they will move on to another brand. As firms rely on consumers to demonstrate the quality of their brands, a loss of trust can be perilous for both the brand and the company’s very future.

Those companies that view trust not just as a security or technology issue, but also a brand-building opportunity, and put their consumers’ interests ahead of short-term profits, will be those that are most qualified to come out on top when trust problems disrupt their business.”

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