Organisations that take a business-driven cybersecurity approach to their digital initiatives are achieving better outcomes and outperforming their peers, according to PwC’s 2019 Digital Trust Insights Survey.
The global survey of more than 3 000 executives and IT professionals worldwide found that the top 25% of all respondents – market leaders known as “trailblazers” – are not only leading the way on cybersecurity, but also delivering more value and better business outcomes.
The survey revealed key demographic information about trailblazers. Many are large companies; 38% of respondents from companies worth at least $1-billion are trailblazers. The financial services industry and the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector are particularly well represented in the leader group. Thirty-three percent of financial services respondents and 30% of TMT are trailblazers, compared to roughly a quarter of the survey base in other industries.
Businesses in this category report they are more proactive, preemptive and responsive than their peers, minimising the operational impacts of cyberthreats. For example, more than eight out of 10 trailblazers say they have anticipated a new cyberrisk to digital initiatives and managed it before it affected their partners or customers (compared to six in 10 of others).
Geographically, just 21% of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) respondents are trailblazers, compared to 30% in the US, and 30% in Asia Pacific.
Andy Wilson, Intelligent Digital Lead for PwC Africa, says: “All over the world companies are investing in digital transformation to build new capabilities, value propositions as well as to do things faster and better. They’re counting on these initiatives to propel growth and improve customer experience. There are several risks, however, arising from these digital initiatives. Significant among these is cybersecurity.
“Adding more cybersecurity professionals is not enough. Organisations will need to reframe what the cybersecurity professionals do and how they do their job.”
PwC’s Digital Trust Insights survey has uncovered the trailblazers who are outperforming their peers in digital initiatives and security overall.
Among respondents who say growing revenue is the top value sought from digital transformation efforts, nearly nine in 10 trailblazers say they are getting a payoff that meets or exceeds their expectations (compared to 66% of the other respondents).
Trailblazers are also more optimistic about the potential growth in revenue and profit margin for their companies, with 57% expecting revenue to grow by 5% or more, and 53% expecting profit margin to grow by 5% or more.
The leading behaviours that set trailblazers apart from their corporate peers include aligning their business and cybersecurity strategies, taking a risk-based approach, and coordinating their teams that manage risk.
Trailblazers are more likely to embed their cybersecurity teams within the business to support strategic goals. They are connected integrally to the people who are crafting strategy (CEO), executing on digital initiatives (Chief Digital Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Tech Officer), managing risks (Chief Risk Officer) and monitoring the business (boards). Trailblazers often operate in an enterprise with an agile operating model.
Key findings from PwC’s Digital Trust Insights survey illustrate the edge that trailblazers maintain in all three areas:
● Connected on strategy: 65% of trailblazers strongly agree their cybersecurity team is embedded in the business, conversant in the organisation’s business strategy and has a cybersecurity strategy that supports business imperatives (vs 15% of others).
● Connected on a risk-based approach: 89% of trailblazers say their cybersecurity teams are consistently involved in managing the risks inherent in the organisation’s business transformation or digital initiatives (vs 41% of others).
● Coordinated in execution: 77% of trailblazers strongly agree their cybersecurity team has sufficient interaction with senior leaders to develop an understanding of the company’s risk appetite around core business practices (vs 22% of others).
Wilson adds: “Businesses that embed cybersecurity in every corporate action will be better positioned to deliver the advantages of digital transformation, manage related risks and build trust. This behaviour is bound to generate attention in the marketplace as today’s trailblazers crowd out the competition over time.”