Cyberattack fears create a springboard to accelerate innovation, says Vodafone

20 Sep 2017

Vodafone store. Image: defotoberg/Shutterstock

Instead of just battening down the hatches, cyberattacks and GDPR are enabling new business opportunities.

Vodafone has revealed that most infosec decision-makers globally believe that cybersecurity can be used to steer their organisations in profitable new directions.

In a new report, around 86pc of 1,434 security decision-makers – including 100 in Ireland – see infosec as a path to new business opportunities rather than just a means of defence.

‘Businesses are seeing cybersecurity as an enabler of business growth and innovation’

“Cybersecurity has evolved beyond simple protection of the status quo and is being used by companies of all sizes to support and accelerate innovation and growth,” said Andrzej Kawalec, Vodafone head of enterprise cybersecurity strategy.

“It is giving businesses greater confidence in opening up new markets and introducing new services. While we are seeing a desire to create cyber-ready organisations, companies are not sure about who best can help them. I believe that the most successful companies will be the ones which design in security from the start and use it as springboard.”

Senior management drag their heels on infosec and innovation

However, that does not mean all is rosy in the garden of infosec. Despite the entrepreneurial instincts of these decision-makers, 36pc lack buy-in for their ideas from senior management who refuse to actively support better security measures.

As such, they are worried that their policies are not strong enough, with two out of three (64pc) concerned that this lack of buy-in will directly and negatively impact the business.

About 61pc of the infosec decision-makers in Irish businesses surveyed are worried about a direct cyber threat to their organisation.

Of those organisations concerned about a direct cyber threat,’ loss of data’, ‘network breaches’ and ‘reputational damage’ are the top three fears, with downtime and ransomware also featuring in the list, showing the broad variety of security issues facing businesses.

Around 32pc said that cybersecurity is not of high strategic importance to the business.

By contrast, businesses that are actively growing and reinvesting are more likely to achieve management support, according to the study, with 86pc saying that better cybersecurity was a competitive differentiator.

Infosec is an enabler of growth, innovation, new business opportunities and digital transformation, according to 86pc surveyed globally, and 64pc in Ireland.

Almost nine in 10 (87pc) global businesses expect that their security budget will increase over the next three years, with nearly three in four (71pc) expecting an increase of more than 10pc. These figures slightly drop when compared to Ireland, with 75pc expecting budgets to increase, and 62pc reporting that they will spend more than 10pc of their IT and mobile communications budget on cybersecurity readiness.

“Strong cybersecurity is becoming increasingly essential for all Irish and global business, with the majority we surveyed believing it is of high strategic importance,” said Csaba Kiss Kallo, head of connectivity, mobility and security portfolio, Vodafone Ireland.

“In fact, our research shows that businesses are seeing cybersecurity as an enabler of business growth and innovation. There is, however, a clear difference in attitude between companies whose revenue is shrinking and those whose revenue is growing, with a positive correlation between viewing cybersecurity as an enabler for business growth.

“Protecting devices, networks, data and apps is extremely important for business of all sizes, irrespective of budgets and manpower. Cyber education and awareness must sit at the heart of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. This is as relevant at the board level as it is on the shop floor.

“In spite of the concerns surrounding these findings, our research indicates that having a strong cybersecurity process in place will drive future business success.”

How cybersecurity is accelerating innovation

Cyberattack fears create a springboard for unlocking innovation, says Vodafone

Infographic: Vodafone

Vodafone store. Image: defotoberg/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years