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A bright future lies ahead

A bright future lies ahead

Forward-looking Telcos are turning a sharper lens on today's cyber security conscious consumers and putting them closer to the heart of their business. While embracing digital transformation, they are pursuing a deeper understanding of consumer relationships in the 'age of the customer.'

These businesses are also evolving the traditional Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role to include new responsibilities as 'digital risk officers', whereby the role is getting much broader and has more accountability. CISOs are extremely well positioned and are increasingly standing up to fill this emerging role, assuming accountability for managing threats and their potential impact on operations, privacy, stakeholder relationships, trust and ultimately business growth. They are pursuing a crucial new path that aims to contextualize security for their entire business.

The evolution is shifting from managing cyber security to balancing the risk and opportunity, and establishing the right strategy for all stakeholders. As a result of their efforts to become more customer-centric, today's future-focused telecom firms are also strategically unlocking enhanced trust in their services as a key differentiator that's fundamental to future growth in the hyper-connected environment.

While that's good news for forward looking organizations, I believe their approach should also prove instructive to other players, given the findings of our new KPMG* report that reveals a gap in perceptions between today's security-savvy consumers and many organizations that still view security as an internal challenge.

In the new report - Consumer Loss Barometer-The economics of trust - the majority of mobile consumers we surveyed cited their concerns about misuse of personal information while using public Wi-Fi (73 percent) or mobile apps (78 percent), which establishes the rising awareness amongst consumers. About 75 percent also raised concerns about theft or misuse of personal information such as their location or health-related data. Meanwhile, only 33 percent of Telco security executives cited concern about the impact of a breach on customer relationships.

Digital risk officers will help to close the gap

It's clear to me that many organizations and CISOs have an opportunity here to innovate and rise with the tide of consumer awareness toward digital trust and data protection - a trend that continues to emerge among today's forward-looking Telcos. As these businesses pay closer attention to cyber security and public expectations, they are sending a powerful message to security-sensitive consumers: that they are aware of consumer expectations and increasingly putting data privacy and security at the heart of their services and innovations.

As our survey report notes, Telco leaders cited malware (62 percent), phishing attacks (51 percent), distributed denial of service (44 percent) and ransomware attacks (29 percent) as having the biggest impact on their organization in the last fiscal year, which indicate that the attacks are focused on getting sensitive information/disrupting the services. This is extremely critical as the global Telco experiences significant convergence with other consumer facing sectors, and the role of Telco gains significant importance in providing various services such as media/content, banking/insurance, healthcare and many others. This has led to a proliferation of data - and ensuring security, along with a trusted environment, has become fundamental for Telcos.

In addition, the global Telco sector also plays a significant role for wider industries as they continue to transform digitally and innovate. Telecoms are positioned to help these firms manage innovation and drive growth in a dynamic global environment where change is the new normal.

In many instances we are seeing that telecommunication CISOs are proactively taking on important new responsibilities as digital risk officers in a bid to help their organizations manage and respond more strategically to cyber threats. Certainly their efforts are timely in response to public security-awareness amid the proliferation of cyber threats posing unprecedented issues for businesses, their customers and the trusted relationships needed to drive future growth.

I believe the function of the digital risk officer will play a critical role in driving closer dialogue - and in closing the gap - between consumers and businesses as each side continues to mature and move higher up on the value chain. And as today's customer-centric Telcos discover how their efforts to foster trust can also unlock new competitive advantages and drive growth, that trend is one that all Telcos should be eager to join.

*Throughout this blog, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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