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CiscoLive: Creating trust in a brand via cybersecurity

Allan Swann | March 20, 2015
When a hack does more than financial damage, how do you regain trust in your brand?

So much focus on cybersecurity focuses on the tangible damage done to business, but what about the intangibles? As more and more high profile hacks rock the corporate environment, how do brands retain trust? CiscoLive 2015, at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, hosted a cybersecurity panel asking exactly that.

The panel consisted of Cisco's senior vice president and chief security and trust officer, STO, John Stewart, Telstra's CISO, Mike Burgess, Cisco's VP and CTO, security business group, Bret Hartman, National Australia Bank's CSO, David Powell, and the Australian Cyber Security Research Institute's CEO, Gary Blair.

Crime and espionage in the cyber world is now occurring at an unprecedented scale, and last year's headline hacks, Sony Entertainment and Target, demonstrate that the loss of data is now a foreseeable consequence, if not inevitable.

Burgess believes that these high levels hacks have not only brought cybersecurity to the forefront of industry minds, but to the general public - and thus have rapidly become a board level problem.

Stewart agreed, noting that every business in the modern world is now an IT corporation, "whether they like it or not."

"What really happens when something critical has been taken away? It is now more than just about your ability to generate revenue, your value is lost," he said.

"So why are boards getting involved? Because it affects the entire business model."

Blair is more philosophical, but believes that the tangible and intangible are not entwined.

"Trust is something that can be added to, or taken away - but it is always a finite element."

Even when boards are trying to do the right thing and implement security frameworks to protect the business, the modern business environment often means that there are too many frameworks to work with, most are very hard to digest, and the channel will always struggle to implement them when there are so many differing needs from the customer. The industry suffers from a lack of standardisation, but simultaneously, not every shoe fits every foot.

As Stewart adds, oftentimes once a framework has been implemented, perhaps over the course of years in the case of large businesses, the market has already moved on. The fact is, even if a framework is implemented, these businesses may well still be hacked.

What is quite frightening about these cybersecurity attacks, and the subsequent loss of trust in business entities, is that there is a very real risk of technological advancement going backward.

If banks, for example, aren't trusted with customer's personal information and funds in the virtual world, customers may well go back to more inconvenient methods - such as visiting banks for withdrawals, or jamming phone banking lines with calls to transfer money.


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