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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?

"This is why we need to get so many of these issues corrected. Because actually moving backwards from these systems would actually take us back to a place we dont know how to go back to," Stewart said.

Boston Consulting Group back in 2012 actually projected that the G20 online economy would be worth between $1.5 trillion and $2.5 trillion by 2016.

"The difference between those two numbers was trust. That's how large trust was projected to be in economic terms," Blair said.

Stewart believes that these kinds of statistics are already a reality in intangible terms today - it is already differentiating customers choice of companies. Apple, for example, is now a more trusted brand for compute than others, especially in the smartphone market via the iPhone, for better or for worse.

The opportunity for non business entities is approachable in similar terms - what if Australia become known, through a variety of corporate or legislative incentives, as the safest place in the world to store data? The USA and China spy on data, other countries have poor infrastructure or other challenges - it would be easy for a country to step up and build its own trust system in the geopolitical sense - to become the 'Swiss Banking' of data.

Trust is also about how companies respond after data breaches, the manner in which they apologise, come forward and rectify the situation.

Cisco itself is no stranger to government spying, as it was found that the US government was installing backdoors into its equipment, and rival Huawei faces down the same challenges from its close ties to the Chinese government.

Stewart says there will always be an inherent risk once the product is in the supply chain (their breach allegedly occurred during Fedex transit), but that the company has made moves to product its assets - and customers can pick up the product directly from the company, or its distributors, if need be. The majority of risk, he says, remains in operations, especially in the Cloud era, rather than in physical supply chains.

A scary note, most of the panel agreed, is that Australia is still incredibly backward when it comes to mandatory disclosure laws - there is no legal onus on any entity to share the fact that they've been breached with any legislative or executive body, let alone the consumer.

Building trust with your service supplier, in any industry is key, and Stewart believes that, minus government involvement, consumers should be approaching their partners to demand accountability.

The other risk with mandatory disclosure is 'white noise'; namely, that there are so many breaches occurring consistently that we all become numb to it, whether it makes an impact or not.


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