How financial services firms can drive growth by building digital trust

Cate Pye

By Cate Pye, Elliot Rose


Financial services firms are going digital faster than ever. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing us all to live and work largely through online interactions, customers, investors, suppliers and staff all expect enhanced digital experiences. But that brings new risks – more digital touchpoints mean a greater attack surface for cyber criminals. 

According to a report by research centre Ponemon Institute, commissioned by password manager Keeper Security, revealed that 70% of UK financial firms suffered a cyber-attack in 2020 and warned that this trend can have “disastrous consequences” if left unchecked.

People are more aware of this than ever, making digital trust a key differentiator – particularly in financial services. That’s why digital leaders expect 23 per cent higher revenue growth than others in the next two years. To keep up, firms need to make cyber security a key part of any digital and cultural transformation activity.

We’ve teamed up with UK Finance to explore how firms can use cyber transformation to go beyond simply protecting technology and data and build growth-driving digital trust. Our white paper, Driving growth by building digital trust through cyber transformation, builds on our previous insights to discuss the benefits of focusing on three core elements of a secure organisation:

  • building a cyber-savvy mindset and cyber-secure culture
  • embedding ingenious processes that encourage compliance
  • adopting a trusted systems approach.

Together, these enable firms to build trust by making it a firm-wide priority. With customer protection at the core of the latest round of global regulations, it’s key to have the whole workforce take ownership of security and pride in protecting customer data, and for those are the top to lead and endorse cyber security.

Finding the right place to start your cyber transformation

Getting everyone to buy into the three focus areas above can be challenging. So, our paper explains how starting conversations by focussing on internal and external drivers can help:

Internal drivers include:

  • firm strategy
  • technology strategy
  • workforce strategy
  • supply strategy
  • capital events.

External drivers include:

  • regulation
  • incident
  • customer demand
  • shareholder demand
  • competitor strategy.

Starting with these as the foundation for developing cyber capabilities, rather than risks, lets people identify the raft of opportunities, such as more efficient services to customers, better adaptability and faster growth. The desire to seize those opportunities then provides the impetus to drive the transformation.

The elements of a cyber transformation also work best when integrated with other transformation activity at the heart of a firm’s growth and business objectives. That means transformation leads, senior executives and sponsors should invest time in:

  • focusing minds on outcomes, benefits and growth opportunities for the whole firm
  • getting leaders to show passion for the change, celebrate successes and behave in a cyber secure way
  • removing silos and building relationships across the firm.

By using these three principles to align cyber transformation to firm-wide priorities, firms will find it easier to integrate cyber secure technology, develop sustainable security behaviours and go beyond simple protection to drive growth.

Cyber transformation can drive growth

As customers, investors, suppliers and staff focus more on cyber security, the expectations on firms to demonstrate compliance with regulations (notably EU GDPR and the Data Protection Act) will rise. Firms should use this as an opportunity to enhance secure services and build a competitive edge. A well thought through cyber transformation approach, which brings together secure systems, ingenious processes and a cyber-savvy mindset, will put your firm in a position to seize the opportunities for growth in a digital world.

About the authors

Cate Pye
Cate Pye PA cyber and defence expert
Elliot Rose PA cyber and data privacy expert Elliot is a member of PA's Management Group

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.