Companies that make cybersecurity a vital foundation of their digital growth strategies are uniquely positioned to take advantage of new innovation and growth opportunities to help them realise financial benefits.
Cisco calls these companies “secure digitisers”, and they comprise a new market segment highlighted in its report on Cybersecurity as a Growth Advantage.
Cisco says the report is based on interviews with over 1000 C-suite and line of business executives with significant cybersecurity experience and responsibilities, from 10 countries.
The report notes that an often overlooked but critically important implication of cybersecurity weakness is how it can affect a company’s innovation and growth. This particularly applies to the development of digital offerings and business models.
In the survey, 71 per cent of executives said that concerns over cybersecurity are impeding innovation in their organisations; and 39 per cent stated that they had stopped mission-critical initiatives due to cybersecurity concerns.
About a quarter (28 per cent) of companies surveyed, meanwhile, exhibited characteristics of “secure digitisers”, says Cisco.
This means they measure the business impact of cybersecurity effectiveness; have higher confidence in the security of key digital capabilities, including Big Data/analytics, cloud, and the Internet of Things; and are more willing to pursue digital offerings, thereby accelerating innovation and time to market.
As they evolve, companies must identify insecure technologies—and the business processes they enable—and replace them with new ones that integrate cybersecurity from the very outset.
Read more: Cybercriminals now acting like corporates
As a result, these organisations are far more confident about incorporating digital technologies into their business processes and offerings. In fact, 44 per cent of executives surveyed consider cybersecurity to be a competitive advantage for their organisations.
Cisco estimates that cybersecurity will drive $7.6 trillion of digital value over the next decade. More than three-quarters of this amount – $5.8 trillion – will result from cybersecurity’s enablement of digital use cases that lead to innovation and growth.
Top 5 best practices of secure digitisers
Turn cybersecurity into your growth advantage: Secure digitisers take ownership of cybersecurity: 80 per cent are “very concerned” about cybersecurity, compared to 36 per cent of all others; 83 per cent are expected to assume responsibility for cybersecurity “to a great degree,” compared to 39 per cent of all others. Their approach to cybersecurity is more proactive, notes Cisco.
Mitigate risk by choosing projects with a high opportunity-to-risk ratio, not just a low-risk profile: Secure digitisers take more risks, but the rewards outweigh the costs, says Cisco. Mature digital capabilities that are already delivering proven value include remote collaboration, Center of Excellence support functions, omnichannel capabilities and sales-and-service transformation for financial services, and predictive maintenance analytics for manufacturing.
Re-engineer digital processes with cybersecurity as the foundation: "As they evolve, companies must identify insecure technologies—and the business processes they enable—and replace them with new ones that integrate cybersecurity from the very outset," the report advises.
Institute cybersecurity expertise at all company levels: “Ownership spans from the board all the way to the cleaning crews and everyone literally in between,” explained CFO Robert Simmons, in the report. “This is not the domain of IT anymore. I think the sooner companies can come to that realisation, the better position they’ll be in to put these sorts of programmes in place for the current digital age.”
Measure the impact of cybersecurity protections: This makes executives more aware of threats to the company’s operations and strategic assets, says Cisco. It helps build the case for additional investments to enhance protections.
The report notes 65 per cent of secure digitisers say they can measure these business benefits “very effectively”.
“This helps explain why more than twice as many secure digitisers expect to increase cybersecurity spending in the next year (64 per cent versus 31 per cent)."
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