Businesses must prioritize digital trust to avoid major problems

As organizations pursue digital transformation, they urgently need to prioritize digital trust to achieve their goals and prepare for future market opportunities, legislation, and regulatory compliance, according to ISACA.

The ISACA State of Digital Trust 2024 report finds that 77% of respondents agree that digital trust is crucial to digital transformation and 82% say digital trust will grow in importance over the next five years. Despite this recognition, almost 71% report that their organization provides no staff training on digital trust and only 21% of organizations plan to increase their budget for digital trust.

Professionals see digital trust as vital to business

76% of business and IT professionals believe digital trust is relevant to their organization, and 65% say it is important that organizations be independently graded on digital trust practices, with the results made publicly available.

ISACA defines digital trust as confidence in the integrity of the relationships and transactions between providers and consumers within a digital ecosystem. It is a key indicator of an organization’s security credentials.

Despite recognizing its relevance and importance, 75% of respondents are either unsure or unaware of what improving digital trust requires in practice. A similar number (77%) report that their organizations do not currently measure the maturity of their digital trust practices or are unsure if they do.

“It’s encouraging that businesses continue to recognize the importance of digital trust, not just for business sustainability, security, and profitability, but for building long-term consumer trust. Yet more needs to be done to truly achieve high levels of digital trust, which starts with measuring current levels to establish a benchmark and create a maturity plan,” said Chris Dimitriadis, Chief Global Strategy Officer at ISACA.

39% of organizations admit they are experiencing more cyberattacks, and 15% suffer from more privacy breaches compared to a year ago. And this will only worsen if businesses don’t prioritize digital trust.

The top three benefits of using a framework

Respondents recognize that organizations with low digital trust are more likely to see a reputation decline (64%), suffer from more cybersecurity incidents (58%), experience more privacy breaches (57%), and even lose customers (54%).

The survey reveals that the biggest obstacles to achieving high levels of digital trust include a lack of staff skills and training (50%), lack of buy-in from leadership (42%), and insufficient processes and governance practices (32%).

Dimitriadis adds: “It is not down to business leaders alone to lead the charge – digital trust practices should be implemented and aligned across all departments to truly succeed. Our survey has found that many businesses are unsure on what improving digital trust requires in practice, but working with a trusted partner who can provide a step-by-step framework and assist in digital trust training can set the business on the right path to success and security.”

According to the survey, only 15% of respondents’ organizations currently use a framework for their digital trust practices, but 46 % of respondents believe it is extremely/very important for an organization to have a digital trust framework.

The top three benefits of using a framework include saving time and effort, enabling benchmarking with other organizations in a cost-efficient way, and providing added credibility and third-party validation in support of budget and staff requests.

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