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Solving the problem of protecting personalized customer experiences at scale will grow a digital business faster than competitors, fueling confidence and trust.

Getting the balance of security, safety, confidence and trust right is table stakes for deriving the greatest value from digital transformation investments. Zero trust contributes by securing every identity and validating that every person using a system is who they say they are. 

Telesign’s vision of customer-centric zero trust

VentureBeat recently interviewed Telesign CEO Joe Burton to get his thoughts on how his company is addressing the problem of providing protected, personalized experiences at scale using zero trust.

Burton told VentureBeat that while customer experiences vary significantly depending on digital transformation goals, it is essential to design cybersecurity and zero trust into customer workflows. 


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Telesign sits at the intersection of communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) and digital identity and has expertise in tailoring multifactor authentication (MFA) and trust-based, secure communications.

The company is capitalizing on its expertise in digital identity to provide one of the industry’s most highly rated series of customer onboarding, risk assessment, fraud detection and prevention, account integrity and omnichannel customer engagement platforms. Telesign is seeing rapid growth from the success of its MFA use cases, fraud management and one-time passwords (OTP).

Telesign counts among its customers eight of the top 10 internet companies, and is achieving an impressive 139% retention rate. More than one-third (33%) of its revenue is from ecommerce, 31% from social networks, 5% from enterprise, 4% from gaming and 2% from on-demand.

Given its broad customer base, integration is core to its success. The company currently provides integration to Braze, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Iterable and Carbonite and plans to increase the number of integrations to third-party enterprise systems. Telesign is also considered a leader in providing voice, SMS, RCS, Viber and WhatsApp APIs. The company has a reputation for excelling in service level agreements (SLAs) and quick response to support requests as well. 

Look for Telesign to capitalize on its core AI and machine learning (ML) strengths. Given that it has more than 35 patents in mobile identity and MFA, it makes sense that Telesign will eventually move into identity lifecycle management. 

Source: Telesign Investor Presentation, April 2022 

The high cost of losing customer trust

Breaches that break customers’ trust result in millions in lost revenue as well as severe, irreversible drops in customer lifetime value. CapitalOne is paying a $190 million settlement to 98 million customers whose data was stolen in a recent breach. The latest Chipotle data breach resulted in a $400 million loss in shareholder value the day it was announced.

A study by Delinea found that after a security breach, companies with a weak security posture lost an average of 7% percent of their stock value, which typically had not rebounded four months later. The study also found that companies that experienced a breach saw an increase of up to 7% in customer churn, equating to millions of dollars in lost revenue.

And nearly half (49%) of customers say their top fear is that their financial information will be stolen, followed by 33% whose greatest fear is their identities being stolen.

“Organizations that cultivate trust will build unbreakable bonds with customers, attract the most dedicated talent, and create new business models with partners — all while minimizing risk,” Forrester principal analyst Enza Iannopollo writes in the blog post Predictions 2023: Organizations That Maintain Trust Will Thrive

Transparency, control essential

Adobe’s 2022 Trust Report found that 69% of customers stop buying from companies that use their data without permission. And 68% find a new brand to buy from when their data preferences aren’t respected. Also, 66% will abandon a brand if a data breach puts their identities at risk. 

When an organization makes a mistake or has short-signed strategies — including not securing identities — 55% of customers say they will never again buy from that business. Gen Z is the least forgiving, with 60% saying that they will never purchase again following a breach of trust. And 77% of customers unsubscribe from brands because they feel their information is being misused. 

Keeping data safe and providing consumers with transparency and control over how their data is used are the two most important strategies companies can use to preserve trust. CISOs and CIOs need to be mindful in combining confidence and trust in their companies. Delivering both results in consistent revenue and profitability. Trust is the revenue multiplier businesses need to survive a downturn.  

Zero trust is accelerating in businesses that deal with sensitive, regulated customer data. Source: Abobe 2022 Trust Report: Customer trust is earned or broken with every experience blog post, 2022

Zero trust is a business enabler and board-level priority

The security posture of any business has a significant impact on its sales pipeline and its potential for growth. Trust is a revenue accelerator; without strong cybersecurity, any business is at a competitive disadvantage. 

Having adequate zero trust in place is essential for CEOs and their teams to protect their revenue streams. That’s why boards of directors discuss risk reduction more often with CISOs today. And more CISOs need to be on boards, as zero trust is quickly becoming a flywheel of revenue growth.

“I’m seeing more and more CISOs joining boards,” CrowdStrike cofounder and CEO George Kurtz said during his keynote at his company’s annual event, Fal.Con. “I think this is a great opportunity for everyone here [at Fal.Con] to understand what impact they can have on a company. From a career perspective, being part of that boardroom and helping them on the journey is great.”

He continued: “Adding security should be a business enabler. It should be something that adds to your business resiliency and it should be something that helps protect the productivity gains of digital transformation.” 

Today, 73% of boards have at least one member with cybersecurity experience. In addition, most board members (77%) believe cybersecurity is a top priority for their board itself.

Collaboration essential for CISOs

CISOs must see themselves as collaborators in creating revenue, using zero trust to protect hard-fought-for revenue streams from new digital business initiatives.

“When something touches as much revenue as cybersecurity, it is a core competency. And you can’t argue that it isn’t,” Jeff Pollard, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, said during his presentation at Forrester’s Security and Risk Forum 2022.

Two presentations from that event provided pragmatic, valuable insights into how CISOs and security and risk management professionals can protect their budgets while making solid contributions to revenue retention and growth. “Cybersecurity Drives Revenue: How to Win Every Budget Battle” from Pollard, and “Communicating Value: A CISO’s Business Acumen Primer” from Forrester principal analyst Chris Gilchrist explain why senior management teams must consider cybersecurity and zero trust a value-driver, not just an expense.

Cybersecurity is core to revenue growth. A great way to do that is by having a CISO focus their teams on finding and managing investments in cybersecurity that protect and grow customer trust at scale.

“This means that security is now a driver of corporate strategy, rather than buried as an operational line item only to be managed and measured as a cost,” said Gilchrist. “In other words, security now has the latitude to defend and drive growth.”

It pays to lock in on trust

As Barbara Brooks Kimmel, founder of Trust Across America, put it: “On average, and over the long term, the top 10 most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 25% since inception.”

The more confident customers are that their data — including identities — are safe, the more they trust and spend with a brand.

And, as James Gregory wrote in a blog post: “As an intangible descriptive attribute, nothing can be more vital or more impactful than trust. Trust is a value enhancer for corporate value, and conversely, a lack of trust can destroy market value in an instant.”

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