In 2018, Data Security Is No Longer an Underdog

Underdogs are on everyone’s mind these days, especially with so many winter sporting events just around the corner. Rooting for unexpected or undervalued players and seeing them come out on top is a satisfying, exhilarating experience that can lead us to adopt new perspectives and a greater sense of optimism and possibility.

In the enterprise security world, data security has traditionally been viewed as an underdog. Don’t get me wrong — data security is a necessary control to reduce risks, lower costs and support compliance. In fact, given the increasing number and sophistication of data breaches, explosion of sensitive data being exchanged across dizzyingly complex IT environments and mounting regulatory pressures across the globe, data security is more important than ever when it comes to protecting an enterprise’s crown jewels. This is reflected not only in the conversations I engage in with my own colleagues and clients, but also in market data and predictions. According to one recent report, the database security market alone is expected to grow to $7.01 billion by 2022, up from $2.96 billion this past year.

Even with all this in mind, data security is still not often thought of as a business driver — something that can actually increase revenue and facilitate positive results, rather than just protecting against loss. If we take a closer look at where technology is headed and where business needs are emerging, however, this perception changes. Data security, once an underdog, is becoming a strategic driver capable of enabling competitive differentiation for those who approach it with the right mindset.

Emphasizing Data Security Controls Enhances Customer Trust

According to the “2017 Cost of Data Breach Study,” failure to retain customers after a security incident accounts for a significant portion of costs incurred. Customers are making purchasing decisions based on trust that an organization will protect their privacy. Given the enhanced public scrutiny on the issue after multiple high-profile data breaches occurred in the past year, it’s fair to predict that this trend will continue into 2018 and beyond. In addition, new compliance regulations coming into effect underscore the need to protect the privacy rights of data subjects.

Building and maintaining customer trust is one of the most important — and challenging — things a company must do to maintain competitive advantage and enhance market share. A recent Deloitte study reported that 73 percent of consumers would reconsider using a company if it failed to keep their data safe, but only 51 percent would reconsider if they were charged a higher price for a similar product. Data security and data privacy can function as a competitive differentiator. By ensuring that they’ll keep customer information safe — or, better yet, safer than the competition — from external threats and internal prying eyes, organizations can attract security-savvy customers at a higher rate than competitors who fail to highlight these critical capabilities.

Robust Data Security Facilitates Digital Transformation

Another critical component in the race to capture and retain customers is the ability to accelerate digital transformation initiatives. We all know that digital transformation cannot occur without a mature security program in place to support it, but how does data security drive this transformation forward? If we look at this question through the lens of zero trust and security by design, data security’s centrality to digital transformation becomes clear: By securing the data itself, organizations are able to set it free.

Infusing data security everywhere throughout the organization can empower your mobile workforce, enable faster cloud migrations and assuage the threat of privacy or ethical violations that comes along with leveraging big data analytics. By adopting data security as a foundational element of digital transformation, organizations can attain it more quickly and activate the multitude of business benefits it touts.

Read the complete Forrester report: The future of data security and privacy

Data Security Is Now Top Dog

Enhanced customer trust, faster digital transformation and the revenue associated with both are just some of the ways in which data security can function as a business driver. As a result, these technologies are no longer the underdogs of the security world. As data security takes on a more central role to enabling businesses around the globe to reach their full potential, the question becomes, “What’s next?”

To learn more, download the Forrester Report, “The Future of Data Security and Privacy: Growth and Competitive Differentiation.”

Grace Murphy

Data Security Product Marketing Manager

Grace is a member of the product marketing group within the IBM Security business unit, and is part of the team...