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New Isaca Research: Digital Trust Integral To Innovation & Resilience Though Major Gaps Threaten Business Operations & Reputations

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By Author: Santosh
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Digital trust can make or break an organization. With increased data breaches, errors, ransomware, and hacks, digital trust can be the difference between retaining reputations and customer loyalty after a major incident and suffering serious, time-consuming, and expensive losses. Ahead of National Technology Day on 11 May, business leaders can see how their organization measures with ISACA’s Global State of Digital Trust 2023 report, which reveals insights from 537 digital trust professionals in India on digital trust benefits, obstacles, priorities, responsibilities, and budgets.

Benefits of Digital Trust
According to ISACA’s State of Digital Trust 2023 report, 85% of respondents said that digital trust is extremely or very important to digital transformation; however, they also report worrisome gaps in several strategic areas including leadership support and staff skills/training.

Organizations with high levels of digital trust can gain tangible benefits and positive business results. The top benefits reported in the 2023 survey are:
1. Positive reputation (64%)
2. Stronger customer loyalty ...
... (62%)
3. More reliable data on which to make decisions (56%)
4. Fewer privacy breaches (55%)
5. Fewer cybersecurity incidents (54%)
6. Ability to innovate faster because of the confidence in their technology and systems (51%)
7. Higher revenue (36%)

Even with these stated benefits and with 90% agreeing that demonstrating a commitment to digital trust will ultimately make organizations more successful, only 24% have a dedicated digital trust staff role and only 36% say their board of directors has prioritized digital trust. Eighty-two% of respondents say measuring the maturity of digital trust practices is extremely or very important, yet 31% do not measure the maturity of digital trust at all.

Measurement is a significant differentiator and leadership is driving this, 34% say they do not currently but will likely have a Chief Trust Officer, or Director of Digital Trust, in the next five years. Seventy-two percent are completely or very confident in the digital trustworthiness of their organization, but this jumps to 89% among those that measure digital trust maturity.

Holistic Approach Can Help Reduce Obstacles and Reap Benefits
Security, risk, data integrity, privacy, governance, quality and assurance are listed among the many key components of digital trust. Over a third (34%) are planning to increase budgets for digital trust activities, indicating that digital trust can be implemented as an umbrella approach that encourages existing individual areas to work as a cohesive whole in the most cost-effective way.

“As organizations move to a digital-first business model, trust is the essential component that must be earned before, during, and after every interaction,” said Tracey Dedrick, Interim CEO of ISACA. “Digital trust is a holistic, organized approach and offers a new and integrated way for organizations to look at what they are already doing. Digital trust is an umbrella that ensures existing functions are operating in sync and in the most optimal manner to ensure others have trust in the organization. A digital trust framework that is aligned with enterprise goals is essential and can contribute to impactful positive outcomes."

While significant additional budget or headcount may not need to be allocated to the digital trust, a holistic, organized approach and a digital trust framework that is aligned with enterprise goals is essential and can contribute to impactful positive outcomes.

“It is critical that boards and the C-suite be closely involved in ensuring digital trust is positioned as a top-tier strategic benefit,” said Dedrick.

Barriers Need to Be Addressed
The top obstacles to attaining high levels of digital trust are lack of skills/training (49%), lack of alignment of digital trust and enterprise goals (47%), lack of technological resources (45%), lack of leadership buy-in (42%), insufficient processes and/or governance practices (39%) and digital trust not being treated as a priority (37%).

On a positive note, an improvement in the “lack of skills and training” over the previous year’s survey indicates a gradually increased understanding of the value of digital trust. In 2023, 45% offer digital trust training to staff (43% in 2022), and 72% say digital trust is extremely or very relevant to their job (66% in 2022). There was no change in the percentage (35%) who understood how their job role contributes to digital trust in both years. Though it is trending in a good direction, there is a need for acceleration.

Responsibility for Digital Trust
The respondents did not name one specific job title or role responsible for driving digital trust for every organization, mainly because each enterprise has its own culture, structure, and goals. However, they noted that either the board of directors or senior leadership has ultimate responsibility for their organization. Despite this, only 36% say the board of directors has prioritized digital trust.

“With most businesses now operating via digital platforms, instilling and safeguarding digital trust is becoming critical. Digital trust relies on organizations prioritizing quality, availability, security and privacy, ethics and integrity, transparency and honesty, and resiliency—not only creating value for their business, but doing the right thing and benefiting their customers,” said R V Raghu, ISACA Ambassador in India, past ISACA board director, and director, Versatilist Consulting India Pvt Ltd. “Digital trust is about creating a better, safer digital world for everyone.”

Tools for Digital Trust Growth
The pace of digital transformation is increasing as pressures from stakeholders and peers intensify. Digital trust guidance will have a significant impact as only 34% currently use a framework for their digital trust practices while 85% believe it is extremely or very important to have a digital trust framework.

Learn More
The State of Digital Trust 2023 report is available as a free download at www.isaca.org/state-of-digital-trust. To register for a free webinar on the survey results and their implications, visit https://store.isaca.org/s/community-event?id=a334w000005SLDgAAO.

ISACA® (www.isaca.org) is a global community advancing individuals and organizations in their pursuit of digital trust. For more than 50 years, ISACA has equipped individuals and enterprises with the knowledge, credentials, education, training, and community to progress their careers, transform their organizations, and build a more trusted and ethical digital world. ISACA is a global professional association and learning organization that leverages the expertise of its 170,000 members who work in digital trust fields such as information security, governance, assurance, risk, privacy, and quality. It has a presence in 188 countries, including 225 chapters worldwide. Through its foundation One in Tech, ISACA supports IT education and career pathways for under-resourced and underrepresented populations

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