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Trust trumps price in business decision making, with information security crucial to building trust

April 2017 by Iron Mountain

Trust is so important in the corporate world that it can make or break business deals. This is one of the findings of a recent study from Iron Mountain® (NYSE: IRM), the leading storage and information management services company. The study found that the majority of business leaders see customer trust (91%) or partner trust (88%) in their organisation as valuable and 95% agree that trust is important when making a major business decision, ranking more important than price in the final decision. The findings also suggest that organisations with good information management policies and practices are more likely to be trusted than businesses without these in place.

The research, which questioned around 3,000 business leaders, highlighted several important factors that can erode trust. A high number (77%) said they would lose trust in an organisation that had experienced a data breach, placing secure information management at the heart of maintaining trust between organisations and their customers and suppliers.

Once lost, trust and reputation can be hard to restore. The research shows that most (78%) business professionals believe trust can rarely or only sometimes be repaired once it has been broken, with a small number (2%) holding a view that broken trust can never be repaired.

Reputational considerations were important for many. The majority, for example, saw high value in positive media attention (86%), the strength of their organisation’s brand (88%) and how senior leaders are perceived (89%). Most placed high value on protecting business-critical information such as customer records (87%) and intellectual property (92%), emphasising the importance of managing critical information securely to minimise the risks of breaches, mitigate the risk of reputational damage and maintain good relationships with suppliers and customers.

Commenting on the findings Elizabeth Bramwell, UK Commercial Director at Iron Mountain said, “Secure information management has become a business differentiator. It is important to building and maintaining trust between businesses and stakeholders. With our study showing the important role that trust plays in business decision making, we urge organisations to put robust information management policy, process and practice in place. Policy and process, however, are nothing without the support of employees. Businesses need to measure how effectively they are managing information, address any shortcomings and make sure that employees understand and follow policy. Fail to keep information secure and your business risks serious damage to its reputation and its relationships with customers, suppliers and employees. All of which will ultimately hit the bottom line.”

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