A Matter of Trust

TeleSign recently took a stand at InfoSecurity Europe 2014 at Earl's Court, London.  It was great to catch up with everyone in the London office, make contact with some of our EMEA partners and clients, and meet new prospects.‘Information Security as a Business Enabler' was frequently quoted as a theme for the show, emphasizing both the wealth of new business opportunities for security companies from the new online applications and platforms, and also the industry's predominant aim of mitigating risk, which in itself facilitates business.

As one player in the authentication business put it, “Trust is essential”. If you can't get the trust of your users in what you are trying to do online, or if they believe it's unprotected and unreliable, then any business that you are trying to drive forward will be critically affected.Authentication is central to this. Being able to screen out the hackers and fraudsters through a friction-free process by using the one device that everyone carries around with them is crucial to gaining the trust of your users and making them feel confident that you are offering a protected online environment.

However, in the light of last year's well publicized breaches at companies like Tesco, Target, Forbes and Barclays, as well as the Heartbleed vulnerability, the question the UK industry faced was to what extent users' own trust in the security measures of the companies they deal with that has been damaged.

Coincidentally, on the same day as the opening of the show, the UK banks launched Paym, a new mobile payments technology, allowing people to pay or receive money using their phone number, but without needing to give out their bank details. As long as users had a mobile banking app installed, and had registered with Paym, they would be able send money to anyone on their Contacts list who was also registered, simply by entering their phone number.

However, a survey from market intelligence research company Consumer Intelligence suggested that only a quarter of customers would be using this service, with 47% not using it at all. Despite assurances from the chief executive of the Payments Council that Paym is a “safe and easy option”, and even though it relies the same log-on secure credentials as a user's mobile banking app, this survey found that the biggest worry to consumers was still security.

Reflecting this concern with security, Day One of the show saw the Keynote Address by the Rt Hon David Willets MP, Minister for Universities and Science, marking the official launch of The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2014, commissioned by the UK's Department for Business Innovation and Skills and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

As he noted, there were some encouraging trends. The number of companies that suffered a breach was down on last year, and investment in information security had increased, especially in small companies. However, over the same period, the average cost of breaches had nearly doubled. For large organizations this was now between £600k and £1.5m, while for small companies the average cost was between £65k and £115k.

We'll be looking more into the findings of this, and similar reports in our next blogs, as well as more of the major talking points from the show, and a report from the Keynote Presentation from the Engineering Manager of Google on how they secure and protect user information online.There's plenty more good stuff to come, trust us.

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