Digital trust is key to data security and business growth

digital trust

Digital trust has been increasingly eroded by cyber attacks, data breaches and a disconnect between technology and society.

Technology is the engine of economic growth yet digital trust failures threaten to undermine confidence in business and industry’s ability to securely manage personal and commercial information, with trust issues now accelerating a growing disconnect between tech users and the companies that provide vital products and services.

According to Edelman’s annual trust barometer, on average 73 per cent of global respondents worry about their data privacy and 65 per cent worry that tech will make it impossible to know if what people are seeing or hearing is real.

Innovation has powered trust in technology for years. But cracks are starting to show as geopolitics prove inescapable, developing and developed markets drift apart and the tech sector’s executive leadership appears to be disconnected from the public.

In developed markets, only 44 per cent say that tech companies are led by people who genuinely care about the welfare of people and society, and less than 4 in 10 globally say that CEOs are doing well on using their power to benefit society rather than indulge in their own personal fantasies.

The PWC Global Digital Trust Insights survey offers the C-suite a guide to building digital trust by simplifying cyber with intention. It focuses on four questions that tend to get short shrift but, if properly considered, can yield significant dividends.

These questions may surprise and even challenge because, in a survey about data trust, they aren’t technology-centred. Tech, in itself, is not the answer to simplified security. The focus, instead, is on working together as a unified whole from the tech stack to the board room starting at the top with the CEO. Data security is a concern for the entire business, in every function and for every employee.

How can CEOs make a difference to your organisation? Is your organisation too complex to secure? How do you know if you’re securing your organisation against the most important risks to your business? How well do you know your third-party and supply chain risks?

Strategists and technologists have touted the potential of digital business models to boost business ten-fold, a Holy Grail promise of exponential returns on digital investments.

Here are the four key elements to realising your full cyber potential, as exemplified by most advanced and most improved organisations, who employ them all. 

Principle: the CEO must articulate an explicit, unambiguous foundational principle establishing security and privacy as a business imperative.

People: hire the right leader, and let CISO and security teams connect with the business teams. Your people can be vanguards of simplification even as you build “good complexity” in the business.

Prioritisation: your risks continually change as your digital ambitions rise. Use data and intelligence to measure your risks continually, as well.

Perception: you can’t secure what you can’t see. Uncover blind spots in your relationships and supply chains.

Guy Hanson, VP of customer engagement at Validity believes that following basic best practices can ensure maintenance of digital trust. Key steps such as compliance with data protection law, by only collecting data that is absolutely necessary and deleting data that they no longer plan to use, will ensure that an organisation complies with regulations such as GDPR. Transparency is another key element as customers should know how their data is being used and who is using it. Training of data governance teams will underpin data security so employees are trained to correctly respond to SAR requests.

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