Derailers of growth | KPMG | BE

Derailers of growth

Derailers of growth

Overconfidence in data security capabilities and issues with areas related to corporate responsibility can derail a company’s growth.

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Data security

how overconfidence can be a derailer

Over half of the respondents said that they believe their companies have “sufficient skills and technology to manage cyber security” – while less than one in five (18 percent) said they do not. Even respondents who have experienced a breach show no greater concern about the issue of data security than those who have not. 

The key headline here is there is a false sense of security. 

Over the past few years, data breaches in the retail industry in particular, have received significant negative publicity – often with financial consequences. 

It is possible that since this is a risk that can be (and usually is) insured against, there is less current concern than for other issues. Or perhaps because executives see the main risks as reputational (and not financial, or a threat to their intellectual property), data security is not seen as a top challenege or area for increased investment. 

Tony Buffomante, Lead for the Consumer Markets Cyber-Security team at KPMG in the US, says threats to companies’ data are “dynamic”, since the “threats are different and more sophisticated than ever.” Data may be targeted by hackers and criminals of course, but also by activists, government or competitors. 

Not only are the attackers learning and adapting, but the data the industry players are protecting is changing, too, and not always in a more secure way. As consumer needs and wants evolve, and as the Internet of Things and other technologies create data in new ways, “sensitive data is becoming more mobile than days of the mainframe – and getting more so every day.”

Thus, the drive for growth is actually also driving more threats to security. 

Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability can enable growth

or impede it

This area of findings covers a broad range of issues related to companies’ compliance policies and efforts to exercise socially and environmentally ethical behavior. 

Of the issues related to corporate responsibility, food and product safety, and consumer health and wellness ranked as the top areas of focus this year--not surprising as these areas are most likely to impact consumer trust. These two areas were also the most likely to be targeted for increased investment this year, and among the respondents’ top challenges. 

Derailers of growth

In the areas considered a “top challenge," a third of the respondents said they are trying to exceed or lead industry standards in the areas of consumer health and wellness and food product safety. 

Respondents were also quite proactive on ethical labor practices (35 percent said they were “trying to lead”) although slightly less were equally aggressive on employee health and wellness (only 24 percent said they were leading).

CEOs and other leaders understand that companies’ adherence to ethical and sustainable business practices are critical to earning consumer trust, which will at some point impact the top line. 

Julio Hernandez, Global Head of KPMG’s Customer Centre of Excellence says, “If companies aren’t trustworthy, they’ll have a leaking bucketproblem. Instead of being loyal, customers will leave if they don’t feel like they can trust a brand. Companies need to step back and think about what their brand stands for, and how they can build tangible trust.”

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