As businesses battled the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn and increasing cyber threats, building and maintaining trust is high on the agenda for embattled organisations.
In an online world flooded with fake news and scammers around every digital corner, fostering trust when businesses are increasingly reliant on active data sharing across internal and external stakeholders is no easy task. However, if the right measures are put in place, today’s organisations can play a vital role in establishing trust as a key commodity for their business, which in turn will help to drive value in the long term.
Digital transformation and the need for trust
The pace of digital transformation has accelerated in the Asia/Pacific region since 2018. According to IDC’s Asia/Pacific Future Enterprise Benchmark research, more than half (56%) of organisations are in the middle to advanced stages of the digital transformation journey.
Trust, which matures with organisations as they embark on their digital transformation journey, is a critical focus for companies and is recognised as the single, most important ingredient necessary to gain loyal, profitable customers in the digital era. Trust is built upon a strategic approach to IT security, notwithstanding cultural aspects. Those that succeed in engendering trust with their internal and external stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners, will reap benefits of a more favourable perception and more rewarding business engagements.
Security is the foundation of trust
There is no denying the seriousness of today’s cyber-threats, a recent report from Scamwatch indicates that last year Australians lost $176 million to cybercrime and related scams in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this, it shouldn’t be surprising that cybersecurity is a major base of trust in today’s digital era.
Organisations that wish to foster trust with stakeholders must ensure the right steps are taken to manage employee and contractor identities. For example, as staff continue to work from home en masse, ensuring data privacy isn’t just about “who” has access to data, security teams must also take into account from “where” the data is being accessed to ensure the infrastructure used to access information is up to scratch with security policies to keep critical information safe.
Likewise, as we begin to see more influence from regulation such as GDPR in Europe, data security and cyber resilience are key factors in ensuring not only trustworthiness, but also compliance. Investment in measures that ensure compliance with future regulation allows stakeholders to rest easy in the knowledge that the business is prepared not only for security threats now, but also for disruption stemming from compliance issues later down the track.
Trust is value
A significant challenge has, for a long time, been the inability of organisations to realise the value of security. For far too long, management has treated cybersecurity as a necessary burden to protect employees and customers from data loss. As a result, most organisations have until now taken a tactical rather than strategic approach to IT security. The consequences far-too-often being clunky security systems that impact employee productivity at best and in the worst cases, chronic underfunding due to executives being unaware of the value a properly integrated security system can bring to the business.
Companies need to break out of the habit of treating cybersecurity as a hindrance to business outcomes and instead push for solutions that not only improve security, but also boost efficiency. For example, the implementation of automated security solutions allows IT staff to reallocate their time to projects that drive growth. Likewise, a strategic approach to identity management can ensure remote staff and contractors are able to seamlessly access the data they require in a way that is secure and compliant without having to jump through multiple hoops to do so, saving employee time and boosting productivity for the business.
With strong boardroom support, businesses can ensure the onslaught of cybersecurity threats are dealt with in a way that not only increases efficiency, but also engenders long-term stakeholder trust. In today’s business environment where resilience and security are vital, trust can make all the difference in ensuring your business edges ahead of the pack.