New ISACA Digital Trust Research Reveals Gaps

As enterprises worldwide compete in the race for digital transformation, the State of Digital Trust 2022 survey report from ISACA shows significant gaps between what enterprises are doing now and what they should do to establish leadership and earn customer trust in the future digital ecosystem.

The State of Digital Trust 2022 report features insights from 2,755 business and information technology professionals from around the world. ISACA defines digital trust as the confidence in the integrity of relationships, interactions and transactions among providers and consumers within an associated digital ecosystem. It is a driving factor in consumer decisions and enterprise resilience in a digital-dominated environment.

While nearly all respondents in Australia and New Zealand (95 percent) say that digital trust is important and 60 percent said that digital trust is relevant to their jobs, only 12 percent of their organisations have a dedicated staff role for digital trust.

Looking to the future, 79 percent say digital trust will be even more important in five years than it is today, yet only 25 percent offer digital trust training to staff.

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

Just one breach of digital trust can cause devastating reputational, regulatory and financial repercussions. Yet only 71 percent say their organisation currently prioritises digital trust at a sufficient level.

Survey respondents are aware of the consequences and say that organisations with low levels of digital trust experience: reputation decline (68 percent vs 62 percent globally), more privacy breaches (73 percent vs 60 percent globally), more cybersecurity incidents (71 percent vs 59 percent globally), lost customers (51 percent vs 56 percent), less reliable data for decision-making (56 percent vs 53 percent globally) a negative impact on revenue (40 percent vs 43 percent globally) and a slower ability to innovate (33 percent vs 36 percent globally).

Even in an era in which enterprises heavily prioritise metrics and data analytics, only 27 percent say their organisation measures the maturity of its digital trust practices. Those that measure digital trust have two areas in common—their board of directors has prioritised digital trust and they use a digital trust framework.

Moving past obstacles

According to the ISACA survey, the most significant obstacles to digital trust are: lack of skills and training (53 percent), lack of alignment with enterprise goals (41 percent), lack of leadership buy-in (47 percent), lack of budget (43 percent) and lack of technological resources (32 percent).

“Digital trust is a currency that must be backed by a robust validation process,” said Matt Chiodi, chief trust officer for Cerby and a member of ISACA’s Digital Trust Advisory Council. “Trust must be earned, which means that in everything an organisation does, the end goal must be answering the question, ‘What can we do today to better earn the trust of our customers?’

“Those organisations 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.”

Benefits of digital trust

Enterprises experience a range of key benefits when they prioritise digital trust in their strategic planning. According to respondents, high levels of digital trust lead to:

  • Positive reputation (70 percent vs 66 percent globally)
  • Fewer privacy breaches (74 percent vs 68 percent globally)
  • Fewer cybersecurity incidents (69 percent vs 57 percent globally)
  • Stronger customer loyalty (49 percent vs 55 percent globally)
  • Faster innovation (54 percent vs 44 percent globally)
  • Higher revenue (25 percent)

Growth opportunities

Even with global efforts such as the Digital Trust Initiative from the World Economic Forum, only 32 percent of respondents were extremely or very familiar with the term “digital trust.” This underscores the importance of a consistent drumbeat about digital trust and its growing importance on the enterprise landscape.

An emphasis on digital trust also presents major opportunities for career growth, as 79 percent say digital trust will be much more important in their organisation and 24 percent say their organisation will likely have a senior staff role dedicated to digital trust in five years.

Respondents said the top three components of digital trust are security, data integrity and privacy, but only half of respondents agree that there is sufficient collaboration among professionals in these and other digital trust fields.

The top three roles for strengthening digital trust are IT strategy/governance (85 percent), security (80 percent) and risk and compliance (80 percent). Many organisations are still in early stages of digital transformation, so this is an excellent opportunity for professionals to step up, gain knowledge and lead a multi-disciplinary team.

Tools for the digital future

According to 70 percent of respondents, digital trust is very important to digital transformation.

Respondents also want tools to help with transformation—43 percent say that having a digital trust framework would be extremely or very important to their organisation.

To help enterprises grow their digital trust capabilities, ISACA is releasing the Digital Trust Ecosystem Framework (DTEF) in the fourth quarter of 2022. DTEF is a business framework designed for the entire enterprise and focuses on providing critical factors for organisational success by fostering trusted, meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships, interactions and transactions. Members of ISACA can get a preview of the framework before its release in a free webinar on 22 September.