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The vast majority (84%) of IT and business decision-makers in Europe say they acknowledge the importance of digital trust, but less than 10% of them have designated a staff member with responsibility for the matter, and only 19% say they measure the maturity of their digital trust practice in any meaningful way.
Even more (86%) say digital trust will be even more important by 2027 than it is today, but only 27% are offering digital trust training to staff.
This is according to pan-European research by cyber association ISACA, which revealed significant gaps between how organisations operate today and what they should be doing to establish leadership, and earn customer or user trust, in the digital world.
“Businesses see digital trust as fundamental, and its significance is only going to rise as they prioritise digital transformation, customer confidence and business security. However, organisations are yet to grasp the steps needed to get to a mature state of digital trust which could have serious reputational, regulatory and financial repercussions,” said Chris Dimitriadis, ISACA’s chief strategy officer.
Digital trust is defined by ISACA as “confidence in the integrity of relations, interactions and transactions among providers and consumers within an associated digital ecosystem”. The organisation says digital trust drives both consumer decisions and enterprise resilience in the digital world.
ISACA said just one single breach of digital trust can lead to “devastating impacts” for businesses, and respondents tended to recognise this, agreeing that those that did not pay attention to the issue suffered from reputational decline (66%), more privacy breaches (56%), more cyber attacks (54%), loss of customers (54%) and unreliable data (47%).
It found progress towards a mature digital trust strategy was being held back by a lack of skills and training (53%), lack of alignment with business goals (42%), lack of leadership or board buy-in (37%), lack of budget (37%) and lack of technological resource (30%).
Less than half of respondents also said there was insufficient external collaboration among professionals in fields deemed critical to digital trust, such as cyber security, data integrity and privacy.
Rolf Von Roessing, ISACA
“Digital trust must be backed by every corner of an organisation. Every department needs to embed policies into their activity and determine how they can promote digital trust among both customers and employees. Those organisations that keep digital trust front of mind are far more likely to see their business go from strength to strength and quickly see the value of their investments,” commented Rolf Von Roessing, ISACA evangelist.
Looking on the bright side, 76% of respondents said digital trust was extremely important to wider digital transformation and, as a result, those that are running digital transformation projects are beginning to make the needed changes to their internal structures, including designating a responsible individual.
To this point, ISACA said professionals specialising in IT strategy or governance, cyber security, and IT in general, were best placed to manage digital trust, and that as demand grows, so would the opportunity for people to step up, gain knowledge and lead multi-disciplinary teams.