20% of our mid-market businesses surveyed in Pitcher Partners recent Business Radar 2022 report identified COVID as having a positive impact on their business confidence, the third largest factor, mainly due to how it accelerated innovation and change.
Investment in technology builds confidence
On average, respondents report having recently invested in multiple types of innovation initiatives. These go further than bringing on or developing new technology: process improvements, product development, and innovation training or strategy, were all commonly adopted. But it’s technology that had the biggest uptake (44%) and is also the factor that correlates with business confidence.
All mid-market businesses see investment in technology as vital, but is rated more highly by high-confidence businesses (89%) than lower confidence businesses (75%). Similarly, when asked if they thought their business wasn’t staying up to date with technology, more lower-confidence businesses agreed (46%) than higher-confidence businesses (33%). Investing in technology can also assist with automation, realising efficiencies and eliminating laborious, inefficient, or undesirable repetitive tasks. Automating, or making these tasks more efficient, could free up capacity to assist with the current labour constraints. This may also increase employee satisfaction and improve retention, particularly if the tasks are replaced with more fulfilling or valuable work.
Preparing for cyberattack
Mid-market businesses mostly invested in technology around cloud-based software (42%) and data and analytics software (35%). Unsurprisingly, having more business operations in the cloud has come with an increased awareness of cybersecurity threats. Lower confidence businesses feel more exposed – confidence in being protected from cyberattacks increases as business confidence increases. A quarter of mid-market businesses say they have experienced a cyberattack of some kind, from low-level attacks like text message phishing to encryption or ransomware attacks. However, even if this one-in-four figure includes very low-level attacks, to many it will still seem high. The reality is that the real number may be even higher – many mid-market businesses may be reluctant to speak up or seek help after a cyberattack because they:
- Fear professional or industry embarrassment
- Worry their clients or investors will lose confidence in them
- Assume it’s a one-off misfortune and unlikely to occur again
- Worry about reputational or brand damage
- Want to avoid the impact of all of the above on the bottom line
Surprisingly, those who have experienced an attack don’t take a significantly greater number of preventative steps than those who haven’t.
Insights for business
Increased business confidence aligns with increased confidence in cybersecurity, which on the surface could imply better preparation. However, there could be an element of overconfidence – with an assessment of risk based on optimism or not knowing all of the potential threats. It is important to engage experts to strengthen your organisation’s cybersecurity defences.
Actions you can take
Whilst a move to the cloud for a lot of people is the start of their transformation journey, it comes with risks. Completing a vendor assessment focused on where the data resides, who has access to it, and how they will respond in the event of an incident is imperative. Just because they are an IT company doesn’t mean they have their cyber act together. Align the business with a cyber maturity framework – Essential 8 is a great starting point.
- Cyber really is a people issue. It doesn’t cost much to educate your staff and increase their awareness.
- Make sure you are using multifactor authentication.
- Undertake a maturity assessment to ensure you have the low hanging fruit covered.
- Cyber insurance is getting harder to obtain especially if you don’t have the basics right. It’s not a case of limiting how much you will be covered for, you simply won’t be covered if you don’t have the right frameworks in place.
- Undertake a desk top exercise to consider how your business would respond to a cyber incident.
What to do now
Explore further insights through the full Business Radar hub on our website today.