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, now 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 to your modern consumers through cyber security. Building your brand reputation today depends a lot 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 make things clear for you, 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 what these terms are 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 kind of 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 with each other, and they go hand-in-hand.
As threats from cyberattacks are increasing, your brand reputation depends a lot on how well you can manage a cyber crisis and whether your cyber security remains intact or not 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 the trend of companies using cloud-based systems instead of on-premise software, cyber attacks are increasing.
As a brand, you are responsible for protecting 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 for any business resulting in reputation loss. If you want to protect your reputation, you need to 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, the data breaches have caused reputational damage for about 46% of companies. The report further suggests that security breaches by third parties caused brand image damage to around 19% of companies. That’s why businesses are more concerned about their 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, your brand image, and your 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 making investments 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 be different for each individual, as people prefer different solutions.
However, for every cyber security strategy to succeed, there is a CIA Triad model. This model suggests that there are three core elements of cyber security, these are:
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of any cyber security 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.
The second element from the CIA triad model for cyber security is data integrity. This element is responsible for maintaining trustworthiness and consistency in data handling.
For this, organisations should ensure that data must not be 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. When they can access their data at any time, true transparency is ensured.
To maintain this data transparency and availability, an organisation must use the proper hardware and infrastructure for displaying this data.
If you want to build a solid strategy of cybersecurity to gain the trust of your customers, you must consider these core elements. 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 it comes to creating a diligent cyber security strategy, you must be aware of what can be 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 start to 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 that their clients’ data safety would also be in danger. The reason is that data breaches can be detrimental to your brands’ integrity which would cost 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, if your business meets a cyber incident, your credit ratings might get affected.
Financial Loss Because of PR
Another hit that your business will be taking because of a cyber incident is the financial loss due to the investments 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 that 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 that the organisation hit by the cyber-attacks faces is the compensation cost. To win the trust of the customers whose data security was compromised, you need to provide them with some compensation.
These costs are also unavoidable, and 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 our data safety, like using VPNs, 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 if there are 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 out a solid response strategy against the data breaches. Firstly, get as much information as you can so that you are aware of all the threats.
Then critically analyse the information with your team. It would give you insights into which set of 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 think about what would be 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 right away.
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; that’s why getting help from forensics investigators and PR consultants would be necessary.
An independent forensics investigator will give you detailed insights on 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 communicate to the media and the customers consistently 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 it 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 for forming that strategy, you must focus on building trust and being transparent.
Also, you can take guidance from the CIA triad model that suggests confidentiality, integrity, and availability are the principles for a solid cybersecurity strategy.