Over half of UK IT leaders refused to work with a software vendor with poor security credentials

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Almost all (92%) of IT decision makers cite email security as their main concern, with phishing attacks being the number one risk.

LONDON — 25 October 2023 — According to research from Exclaimer, the leading provider of email signature management solutions, almost all of UK IT leaders surveyed say email security is their main concern. While 86% of IT leaders consider robust security an important component of their decision-making process when it comes to SaaS products, 41% have previously decided to work with a SaaS vendor regardless of poor security credentials.

The research, carried out by Censuswide, which surveyed 250 IT and cybersecurity leaders in the UK, found that 88% are now more likely to select a software provider that has visible security credentials. These results emphasise the value security credentials offer organisations as a bedrock of brand identity and trust, and one of the main points of consideration when choosing a SaaS provider.

Relationship between security and brand identity

Security's impact on customer trust was evident, with three-quarters (76%) of IT decision makers indicating that a breach of customer data would significantly impact their business. Email security emerged as a priority, with 92% of IT decision makers acknowledging it as important. The top risks to email security identified were phishing attacks (51%), malware distribution (49%), and ransomware (40%). To mitigate such risks, 29% of decision makers see security as the key benefit of implementing an email signature management solution.

Significantly, almost half (44%) of IT leaders think customers would blame their brand if they experienced a phishing scam with a hacker mimicking their brand identity. A further 35% believe they would lose customers, and 29% believe their customers would no longer engage with their legitimate emails. With this in mind, IT leaders need to be choosing SaaS providers that can ensure the security of their services – which is where the visibility of security credentials comes in.

It’s surprising that there are still IT leaders who would consider a software provider who doesn’t have visible security certifications (10%) when over one fifth of IT decision makers admitting to having been fined over customer data breaches, and of those 45% indicated that it directly leads to cost-cutting exercises including reduction of headcount, R&D budget and business development.

Vicky Wills, CTO at Exclaimer, comments: “Cybersecurity continues to be the top priority for all IT leaders and it’s important to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the highest security standards by attaining and maintaining industry-recognized security credentials. Not only does this ensure that you are operating in line with the latest information and best practice guidance, but as our research reveals, there is a key connection between security and customer trust. These findings emphasise that security credentials are not mere checkboxes but the very foundation upon which a business’ brand identity and trustworthiness is constructed.”

Security is front of mind for IT leaders

The research found almost half (48%) of IT leaders cited good cybersecurity as one of the top five factors driving them to one vendor over another. This was only second to good IT support at 50%. With security so front of mind, IT leaders need to look out for these security credentials and steer clear of providers who cannot back up their claims on cybersecurity.

The visibility of security certifications can play a vital part in brand differentiation when decisions are made quickly since 80% of IT professionals take less than two months to make a purchasing decision for a SaaS product. Half (50%) invest between 1–2 months, while 30% take just 1–3 weeks.

Wills continued: “The link between security and trust is undeniable – this is why we work diligently to maintain the highest compliance standards in the industry so that our customers can be confident knowing they are getting the most secure email signature management solution available. Organisations must prioritise security to maintain trust and thrive and we encourage anyone looking for their next technology solution to seek out accredited vendors to safeguard their business.”

-ENDS-

About Exclaimer

Exclaimer is the industry's leading provider of email signature solutions, empowering businesses to unlock the potential of email as a key digital advertising channel. With its award-winning tools, organizations can simplify the management of email signatures to deliver consistent branding, promote marketing campaigns and company news, gather real-time customer feedback, and much more.

Over 60,000 organizations in 150+ countries rely on Exclaimer for their email signature solutions. Its diverse customer base includes Sony, Mattel, Bank of America, NBC, the Government of Canada, the BBC, and the Academy Awards. For more information, visit www.exclaimer.com or follow Exclaimer on Facebook, LinkedIn, and X (formerly Twitter).

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Methodology

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with a sample of 250 IT and Cybersecurity Decision Makers (18+) in the UK. The data was collected between 21.08.2023 – 24.08.2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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