Consumers’ Digital-First Mindset Influenced By Shopping Habits And Desire For Convenience

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Jean Treadwell serves as Director of Business & Marketing Operations and Ontario Site Leader with McAfee. She has held strategic, intelligence, finance, and operational leadership roles. She has been in technology for over twenty years because of its societal relevance and is passionate about the responsible innovation happening within the security landscape.

1. Since the beginning of the pandemic, entrepreneurs have embraced technology as a way to gain more customers and keep their businesses afloat. As Director of Business & Marketing Operations at McAfee, why do you believe it’s crucial for business owners to invest in online technology? How do you believe it can benefit them?

It is crucial for business owners to invest in online technologies because consumers expect and depend on the ability to interact and transact digitally. By enabling these interactions safely and free from the threat of cybersecurity breaches Canadian businesses can meet their customers where and how they live.

Our 2021 Consumer Security Mindset Report showed that the pace of Canadian consumer adoption of technology is rapidly growing. We’ve seen an increase in the activity’s consumers are using technology for- from doctors’ appointments to food delivery services.

Over the past year, we have also changed the way we use technology when engaging in online activities, with 70% of the people in Canada admitting that they have adopted new activities out of convenience. Canadian expect that these digital activities will remain part of our routines even after social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations/restrictions are lifted, and they need to make sure they are taking the necessary steps to stay protected.

2. Studies have shown that the more time businesses and consumers spend online, the greater the risk of being a victim of cyberattacks. Why do you believe that is?

I believe it because we have seen the patterns and the data. Hackers are looking to take advantage and are monitoring consumers’ behaviors and tendencies to find new entry points to take advantage of. In fact, our McAfee Labs team found an almost 12% increase in online threats per minute in Q2 2020 compared to the previous quarter.

3. What are some initiatives and procedures that McAfee has put in place to help entrepreneurs and consumers from cyberthreats?

The complete digital shift is new territory for everyone, and all businesses and consumers are doing their best to protect data from cybercriminals and increased threats. Specifically from a consumer perspective, it is important to stay educated about the risks associated with our online activity and engage in a few key cybersecurity best practices. We are doing our best to connect with our partners and customers to make sure they have the information to protect themselves and their loved ones, such as:

  • Consumers should only respond to messages that originate from email addresses and senders they recognize.
  • They can hover over links before clicking on them, to see if the URL address is legitimate.
  • Consumers should always be sure the web address is correct before attempting to log in to an online account since hackers often forge legitimate websites with the hopes of tricking users into compromising their login details.

4. You’ve been in the tech industry for over two decades. What has been the biggest change you’ve witnessed in cybersecurity throughout the years? How has it evolved?

For me, two of the biggest changes have been consumers’ awareness of risks and the need for protection. When I first got into the industry, the conversations around breaches and security risks were somewhat new. Now, there seems to be something new every day. With more advancements in technology and more activities online, everything has shifted- especially in the last year.

As consumers, we’re working, socializing, maintaining our lives online, and for businesses, it is imperative that they reach and interact with their customers and partners digitally. Hackers are following the money- and our personal information and data are invaluable to them more than ever before.

5. On a final note, what advice can you give to entrepreneurs when it comes to protecting their business from cyberthreats? What initiatives should they be implementing to ensure the protection of their data and avoid cyberattacks?

It is important that people take the time to stay aware and educated about the risks out there. As we all shift to a more connected world, so do hackers- and their methods change and advance just as our technologies do.

The first step for consumers to protect themselves is realizing that there’s a lot they can do to stay safe online by being of their actions and potential risks- from the apps, they install to the websites they click on, to the emails they open.

Be sure to enable two-factor authentication, connect to VPN when you’re on public Wi-Fi and ensure you have holistic protection to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

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