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More needs to be done to earn digital trust of customers, says ISACA survey

Organizations need to do more to strengthen the digital trust between them and their customers, argues a new report from an industry association.

The report, released Thursday by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association certification group — more commonly known as ISACA  — says organizations are spending a lot of time on digital transformation. But without digital trust, customers won’t have faith in online transactions.

ISACA defines digital trust as the confidence in the integrity of relationships, interactions, and transactions among providers and consumers within an associated digital ecosystem.

While nearly all respondents (98 per cent) in a recent survey of ISACA certificate holders say that digital trust is important, and 63 per cent said that digital trust is relevant to their jobs, only 12 per cent of their organizations have a dedicated staff role for digital trust.

Four out of five respondents (82 per cent) said digital trust will be even more important in five years than it is today, yet only 29 per cent offer digital trust training to staff.

“Digital trust is the bedrock of business relationships, and is critical for strategic digital transformation,” David Samuelson, ISACA’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Innovation, market leadership, and financial performance rely heavily on trust that must be earned every day.”

Just over 2,750 business and information technology professionals with ISACA certifications or credentials from around the world were surveyed. Forty-four per cent of respondents were from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Thirty-three per cent had responsibilities in the audit and assurance departments of their organizations, 25 per cent had security roles, while 12 per cent had jobs in risk assessment.

“Thinking of, and acting on, digital trust as a cohesive and comprehensive strategy
is in its infancy,” the report admits. “It is a new approach for many organizations, even though many of its components have been in practice for years.”

For example, it says, the top three most important components of digital trust according to survey respondents are security, data integrity, and privacy, but only half of the respondents agree that there is sufficient collaboration among professionals who work in these fields at their organization.

“All of these are important, but digital trust becomes even more comprehensive and
effective when they are interwoven, along with other top components such as
risk management, governance, quality, assurance, resilience, and ethics,” says the report. “Each of the components makes a strong contribution to earning trust, but it is even
more impactful when they are considered and managed within the context of the
enterprise’s whole digital trust strategy.”

Survey respondents said the most significant obstacles to digital trust are: lack of skills and training (53 per cent), lack of alignment with enterprise goals (44 per cent), lack of leadership buy-in (42 per cent), lack of budget (41 per cent) and lack of technological resources (40 percent).

“Digital trust is a currency that must be backed by a robust validation process,” Matt Chiodi, chief trust officer for Cerby and a member of ISACA’s Digital Trust Advisory Council, said in a statement. “Trust must be earned, which means that in everything an organization does, the end goal must be answering the question, ‘What can we do today to better earn the trust of our customers?’ Those organizations that continually ask this question and make executing on the answers a priority will win in the future – win in market share, profitability, and engagement with employees and customers.”

The report, The State of Digital Trust 2022, is available here. Registration required.

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