Why Brand Reputation and Cyber Security Go Hand-in-Hand
“There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation travelling fast.” — Brian Koslow.
Building a reputation holds colossal importance for brands, whether they are large or small. Brands have a lot riding on their reputations, as this is how consumers perceive them.
Besides, more and more businesses offering the same services are growing, which means you need to be unique. Your brand reputation is the one thing that can help you stand out from the sea of mediocrity.
It’s known that reputation is always built on trust. This trust comes from the transparency you can provide your modern consumers through cyber security. Building your brand reputation today depends significantly on how well you handle your brand’s cyber security.
So, if you are a business owner trying to wrap your head around branding, you must explore the connection between reputation and cybersecurity. To clarify things, we discussed the brand reputation in cyber security. Let’s dive in!
Brand Reputation and Cyber Security: Where Do They Converge?
To understand how brand reputation and cyber security are related, we must first know these terms and why they are necessary for businesses.
In simple words, your brand reputation is how the consumers see you. Customers do not only buy your physical products or services. Instead, it is the idea of your brand that motivates them to trust you with their money. That’s why no brand can survive without maintaining a good reputation.
On the other hand, Cyber Security is a way to protect your computer systems from data theft, breaches, or any other cyber attack. With the strategies for cyber security, you ensure your customers that their data is safe with you to establish trust.
It is the same trust that builds your brand reputation. So, if there is any data breach, it could leave a severe dent in your organisation’s reputation.
For this reason, brand reputation and cyber security are interlinked and go hand-in-hand.
As threats from cyberattacks are increasing, your brand reputation depends significantly on how well you can manage a cyber crisis and whether your cyber security remains intact in such situations.
Data Breaches and Reputation Loss
With the rapid increase in cyber attacks, there is no more significant threat to a brand’s reputation than a data breach. With companies using cloud-based systems instead of on-premise software, cyber attacks are increasing.
As a brand, you protect your client’s personal data. And if there is any data theft incident, it can trigger a negative perception of your brand among the public.
With that negative perception, your customers start to lose trust in you. This could be detrimental to any business resulting in reputation loss. To protect your reputation, you must protect your client’s personal data through a solid cyber security strategy.
Why Do Companies Use Cyber Security?
Last year, there was a 50% increase in the weekly cyber attacks on businesses, continuing this trend. Apart from that, these cyberattacks vary in nature. Data breaches, ransomware, phishing adverts, or traffic bombardment on your business site. All can be detrimental to your business’s reputation.
Moreover, according to a report by Forbes, data breaches have caused reputational damage for about 46% of companies. The report further suggests that third-party security breaches caused brand image damage to around 19% of companies. That’s why businesses are more concerned about cyber security and are ready to take as many precautions as possible.
So, we can observe that cyberattacks cost you financially, but they can also hit your most invaluable asset, brand image, and reputation. A business can recover from financial losses but restoring your brand reputation is quite an uphill task.
It could take years to regain the trust of your clients and restore your brand image. Planning a solid cyber security strategy and investing to fight such attacks is inevitable for businesses.
CIA Triad – Core Elements of a Solid Cyber Security
We have established that cyber security is necessary for every business, but what makes an excellent cyber security strategy? The answer could differ for each individual, as people prefer different solutions, such as VPNs.
However, there is a CIA Triad model for every cyber security strategy to succeed. This model suggests that there are three core elements of cyber security, these are:
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of any cybersecurity strategy. It is almost impossible to protect your customer data from theft without maintaining confidentiality.
This helps you in protecting sensitive information from any unauthorised factions. So that’s why this secrecy is maintained through data encryption. This encryption data ensures that the organisation’s data remains in safe hands.
Data integrity is the second element of the CIA triad cyber security model. This element is responsible for maintaining trustworthiness and consistency in data handling.
For this, organisations should ensure that data is not tampered with while in transit and that only authorised people handle it.
The CIA triad model’s third element is availability. The availability of data refers to only the authorised parties’ access. True transparency is ensured when they can access their data at any time.
To maintain this data transparency and availability, an organisation must use the proper hardware and infrastructure for displaying this data.
You must consider these core elements to build a solid cybersecurity strategy to gain your customers' trust. This will guide you in maintaining the secrecy of customers’ data with transparency and fighting against cyber attacks.
The Impact of Cyber Attacks on Brand Image & Business
When creating a diligent cyber security strategy, you must be aware of the repercussions of a cyber attack on your brand reputation and business. You can face numerous issues because of this, including financial losses and damage to your brand image.
Here are some of the most common impacts of cyber attacks on businesses, as suggested in a report by Kaspersky:
Loss of Business
Loss of business is the foremost issue if your organisation faces any major cyber attack. Other businesses lose trust in your brand as they have seen that your system’s security can be compromised.
They would be hesitant to do business with you as they fear their clients’ data safety would also be in danger. The reason is that data breaches can be detrimental to your brand’s integrity, costing you future revenue.
Deterioration of Credit Ratings
A credit rating is the rating assigned to an individual or an organisation for the ability to repay a debt. It predicts the risk involved in the debtor defaulting and helps determine the worthiness of that individual or a business. So, your credit ratings might be affected if your business meets a cyber incident.
Financial Loss Because of PR
Another hit your business will be taking because of a cyber incident is the financial loss from investment in PR.
When your brand reputation has been tampered with, and you are losing the trust of your clients, the only way left is to go to a PR consultant to help you restore your brand reputation.
The PR consultation is a remedial action you cannot avoid after a cyber attack. This will assist you in communicating your brand’s narrative to the media and your customers. However, this comes at a price that means more financial losses. According to the report, in 2019, on average, SMBs lost $12K and enterprises lost about $161K.
Another loss the organisation hit by the cyber-attacks faces is the compensation cost. To win the customers' trust whose data security was compromised, you need to compensate them.
These costs are unavoidable; on average, SMBs have to pay around $5K, whereas, for enterprises, it could be up to $72K.
How to Maintain Brand Reputation After Data Breaches?
As individuals, we can take some simple steps to ensure data safety, like using VPNs online, antiviruses, or some Kodi addons. However, it is not the same for SMBs and large enterprises. They are always vulnerable to cyber attacks.
However, if you are a firm facing a data breach and looking for ways to safeguard your firm, here is what you can do to control the damage:
Assess the Risk
Before making any decisions and blaming anyone for the breach, it is essential to assess the situation thoroughly.
Find out the nature of the breach and how damaging it could be for you or your clientele. Also, analyse any further loopholes in your cyber security; if there are, you must take measures to remove them.
Plan a Response Strategy
Your second step should be to plan a solid response strategy against data breaches. Firstly, get as much information as possible to be aware of all the threats.
Then critically analyse the information with your team. It would give you insights into which data is most sensitive from your customer’s perspective so that you can focus on protecting it first. Also, it would help you brief the media about the situation.
Secondly, you should plan how to communicate the situation to your customers. It would require you to consider their significant concerns and what you can offer them as compensation.
Lastly, it would help if you evaluated what will be the long and short-term effects of the data breaches on your business and brand reputation.
As they say, communication is the key, so you should set up a group for communication. Communicate as clearly and consistently to your customers and stakeholders as possible.
Be honest and transparent while briefing them about the situation and taking responsibility for the data breach. Also, if there are further developments in the whole scenario, you should communicate them immediately.
Besides, you should avoid giving multiple statements about the data breach, as it might leave the impression that you cannot control the situation.
Instead, make one concrete and thorough announcement for the media, and if there are developments, only then communicate them.
Take help from Forensic Investigators & PR Consultants
In the cybersecurity crisis, it would be wise to take the advice and insights of some professionals. The handling of such a situation could be new for you and your team; getting help from forensics investigators and PR consultants would be necessary.
An independent forensics investigator will give you detailed insights into legal issues and help find a solution for preventing further breaches quickly.
On the other hand, PR consultants would help you restore the trust of your clients and investors. PR would ensure that you consistently communicate to the media and the customers to reestablish their trust in your brand.
A cyber security failure is embarrassing for any business. It interprets as you being untrustworthy and incompetent. This usually results in you losing your customers, stakeholders, and investors.
The loss is financial but can also cost you your brand image. That’s why cyber security and brand reputation are inseparable.
Besides, with the increasing number of cyberattacks on businesses, a diligent strategy for cyber security is inevitable. And to form that strategy, you must focus on building trust and transparency.
Also, you can take guidance from the CIA triad model that suggests confidentiality, integrity, and availability are the principles for a solid cybersecurity strategy.