A company’s reputation and its web security are two features which are very closely linked. That connection is not always obvious from a logical point of view and yet, failures in online protection systems can have a significant effect on brand reputation.
The issue of cyber threats then, should not be tackled merely from the point of view of hardware and software, but needs to be considered from a wider perspective. A leak of sensitive data or any other kind of violation, risk causing irreparable damage to the company’s image.
IT security is a responsibility
In the digital era, companies are no longer limited to simply supplying goods and services. They also have the task of managing huge amounts of sensitive data. Regardless of the type of data in question, the responsibility of keeping certain information safe always lies with the company.
The ability to fulfil this duty efficiently is essential. One false move can destroy the carefully constructed relationship of trust between the company and its users, giving the victims the impression that they have been shown little respect, resulting in direct repercussions on the brand reputation.
This issue is amplified if we consider that, nowadays, businesses are all interconnected with each other. The sharing of IT resources for faster communications and more efficient management also means sharing a certain risk factor.
Any cyber-criminal who manages to exploit a company’s vulnerabilities, potentially has access to all the other companies connected to that one. A situation like this can cause a devastating domino effect. In such cases, the company also suffers serious damage to its brand reputation, as well as financial losses.
Consequently, it is understandable why some companies request that other companies guarantee a certain level of IT security before allowing them to become a business partner.
The GDPR has changed company awareness
The recent introduction of the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is having a positive impact on company awareness. This means that companies are finally beginning to understand the importance of protecting information and sensitive data stored on their databases.
The reason is in large part due to the strict penalties that can be imposed on anyone who ignores web security and leaves their contacts’ privacy un-protected. Failure to observe the European regulations also influences the impression that users have of a company.
If a company is the victim of an IT incident (due to negligence and a failure to respect the GDPR), this leads to a feeling of helplessness in those observing the situation. This leads to a loss of trust, with partners and clients keeping their distance.
Data breech is not the only risk
The data breech is one of the most common IT problems (often widely publicised in the media), but it is not the only web security issue that can damage a company’s reputation. Phishing attacks for example, exploit the brand in order to steal sensitive information or commit fraud.
Such violation attempts usually occur via the use of counterfeit emails or very accurate copies of company web portals. Cyber criminals manage to deceive users by convincing them that they are actually using the company’s real channels of communication.
Although this is not a company’s direct responsibility, even in this case, their reputation is still damaged. Any entrepreneur wishing to avoid similar situations, must take immediate action and report anyone who uses his brand for malicious purposes.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith