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How to build digital trust and ensure security in 2020

Providing security: How to build digital trust in 2020

Idea

 We know that regardless of the type of business—online or offline—trust between buyer and supplier or client and company is essential for building customer loyalty. However, digitization of commercial processes has introduced a variety of security issues associated with data privacy and online fraud. 

 In today’s Internet era, digital trust has become of crucial importance. With the increase of security breaches, hacker attacks, data leaks, deepfakes, ransomware viruses, and malware, organizations must establish strong security measures and take care of information safety. In this article, we’ll explain what is digital trust as well as describe the best practices of improving digital trust in business.

Why should you care? Famous examples of security breaches

 You’ve probably heard about Facebook’s scandal in 2018 when the data of up to 87 million users was inappropriately given to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting company.

 In 2014, the data of more than half a billion accounts was leaked from Yahoo's servers. Details of this hack were published only two years later in 2016. Although the consequences were not severe, one should note that Yahoo is one of the most world-famous IT companies and the amount of stolen data was truly impressive. 

 On February 7, 2014, the largest global Bitcoin exchange service, Mt.Gox, found a vulnerability in their system. It turned out that within three or four years, hackers managed to steal half a billion dollars from Bitcoin users.

Digital trust definition in two words

 Simply put, digital trust is the users’ confidence in having a secure digital environment provided by people, technologies, and processes. The company is considered to be trustworthy when it has proven the reliability and safety of its products (websites, applications) or devices, that it adheres to security regulations (e.g., GDPR), and handles their data ethically. 

 Therefore, digital trust is about ensuring the safety of personal and business data, preventing hacker attacks or unauthorized access attempts, and protecting software.

Digital trust insights

 According to a report by CA Technologies, 86% of those surveyed said that security is more important to them than convenience when choosing a product or service. The more they trust a company, the more they will do business with it. 78% of the interviewed declared that high security of their personally identifiable information is one of their primary concerns. 

 The research also found that people who feel confident about data safety are willing to spend more, with a 57% increase in online spending over 2017 compared with 43% for customers who have a low level of trust. 

 Hence, digital trust directly affects the level of customer loyalty and retention. If your organization protects user data and has a good reputation, there are a lot more opportunities to boost sales and the overall income.

How to build digital trust

 Nowadays consumers are putting a high emphasis on digital trust and are trying to turn to reliable service providers that are able to protect their data. Having this in mind and striving to prevent data and financial losses, companies are introducing innovative technologies and strategies to ensure security. 

 Since here both sides—businesses and customers—win, you should definitely create a secure environment and establish trust. We’ve collected useful recommendations that will help you achieve these goals. So, take a look!

1. Connect security experts 

 If you start a digital transformation project, turn to security experts to implement safe data storage, prevent hacker attacks, and fix security vulnerabilities. Working together with other specialists, they will choose the best technologies, establish security-first approaches, set up a reliable access control system, and much more. 

 Proactive risk management will be also integrated to avoid potential threats. This way, the level of trust in your company will be extremely increased. Even if you don’t need to begin a new program/project, it is still reasonable to hire security consultants who will provide you with expert recommendations for improving digital trust in business

 In PwC’s Digital Trust Insights research, 3,000 business leaders from all over the world were interviewed. The survey found that 91% of enterprise-wide digital transformation involves security and (or) privacy experts as stakeholders. However, only 53% of them include proactive risk management strategies from the very start of the project.

2. Employ innovative technologies

 At the moment, there are plenty of software and hardware tools that help businesses to protect either internal or external data. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning algorithms, blockchain distributed ledgers that use hashing, predictive analytics, and other digital trust technologies help ensure the highest levels of security. 

 Machine learning solutions, for example, can instantly detect suspicious activities and block hacker attacks. With continuous monitoring of the network, it will be possible to identify security breaches and malware and take the necessary steps immediately. PwC’s Digital Trust Insights survey revealed that 70% of respondents assume that AI has crucial importance to at least some part of their business.

3. Ensure compliance 

 In our digital age, you should be aware of security regulations and their developments, prepare for them, and ensure full compliance with the current laws and standards. Currently, the most famous example is the EU GDPR (European General Data Protection Regulation) that came into force on May 25, 2018. 

 The GDPR introduced strict requirements for collecting and processing user data and set huge fines—up to 20 million euros—for their violation. 

 It involves many rules that include gathering only the necessary personal data, asking the user consent to process this information, making sure that software meets the regulation, alerting regulators of any violations within 72 hours, and so on.

4. Create a talented team 

 With a team of highly qualified security specialists, you will ensure efficient security risk management within your company. It will be much easier and faster to solve various issues around software protection and data privacy. 

 Here we’re speaking about experts who are part of your organization, not just stakeholders, as it is in the case when you just need to engage them for a consultation. The key roles are a chief security officer, chief risk officer, chief privacy officer, chief data security officer, etc. 

5. Hold a security training program

 Raising awareness and responsibility around data security and privacy does matter. When your employees are well-trained, the number of errors can be significantly reduced. So, it is reasonable to adopt a staff training program or attend extensive workshops on privacy policies and the best security practices. 

6. Provide cyber resilience

 When creating a software solution or going online, you should provide the system resilience that involves high protection, instant response, and recovery capabilities. Thanks to high resilience and flexibility, it will be much easier to sustain operations without disturbing the operation of the entire system if a cyberattack occurs. Additionally, this will allow it to quickly recover in case of disruption.

 To ensure cyber resilience, you should test the security of your network/product and integrate technologies that will continuously monitor it for vulnerabilities and suspicious activities. These measures will help your company build digital trust.

Closing thoughts

Business goals

 Digital trust plays a significant role in the Internet era. Fortunately, most organizations are employing new strategies and technologies to ensure the safety of sensitive data and prevent hacker attacks. 

 The PwC’s Digital Trust Insights survey that we’ve mentioned above also discovered that most of the interviewed businesses have already provided their board with approaches for enabling cybersecurity (80%) and privacy (83%) in their organizations. 

 If you haven’t established strong security safeguards yet, you should strongly consider their implementation now. To find out more on this topic, we recommend you read our article about cybersecurity trends and challenges. If you have comments or some thoughts about the article, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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