Your business needs a Chief Trust Officer (CTrO). Here’s why.

Over the last decade, the term digital transformation has gone from being hyper-cool to being overused, and with born-in-the-cloud businesses now taking the center stage, there will perhaps be no need for ‘transformation’ one day. That said, all of the transformation that has happened has clearly led to a massive increase in the amount of data being generated and used.

Being digital is great. It brings about agility, reliability, new revenue streams, better CX, more meaningful decisions, and a ton of other good things. However, it also brings with it the aspect of vulnerability and risk, the stakes for which are extremely high. In fact, here are some points for you to ponder over:

  • Over 1.7 MB data is generated per person per second, and 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day. But, do we trust the integrity of this data?
  • Partnerships and ecosystems are expected to unlock $100 trillion of value for business over the next 10 years. But do we trust our partner ecosystem?
  • More than 50% of the global population is currently online. Do we trust all their identities?

Clearly, while the transformation to a digital world has opened up a barrage of new opportunities, there is one element that remains unaddressed (at least partially), and that isDigital Trust’. Businesses have realized the importance of Digital Trust, and have initiated numerous initiatives in pockets to address it, but it is not yet a mainstream trend to have an executive appointed as the Chief Trust Officer (CTrO), who is responsible for all things related to Digital Trust.

Now, if your organization already has a CTrO, then congrats, you’re one of the forerunners! However, if you are not one of those organizations who has made a decision yet, here are 5 reasons why you should onboard a CTrO.

1. Digital Trust is beyond security (Just CISO is not enough!)

The common misconception is that Digital Trust == Security. However, in the digital world, there are so many variables at play that the concept of Digital Trust extends way beyond security, and goes into the realm of Privacy, Identity, Risk, Credibility, Predictability just to name a few. This means that the CISO of your organization is only responsible for one element of Digital Trust, leaving out numerous others unattended. Of course, some organizations have taken the route of naming Chief Identity Officers and Chief Privacy Officers, along with CISO, but given that those elements simply tie up to Digital Trust, it might be best to simply have a CTrO in place.

2. Trust initiatives will become mandatory

As more and more businesses begin to understand the importance of Digital Trust, there is an increasing amount of emphasis laid on Trust as a determining factor to do business. A recent survey by IDC showed that by 2025, two-thirds of the G2000 boards will ask for a formal trust initiative that executes a road map to increase an enterprise’s security, privacy protections, and ethical execution. What this means is, if your business has to stay in the game, and even just pursue opportunities, you will need to have trust initiatives in place, and obviously someone to drive them.

3. Digital Trust will be the strategic differentiator

Competitive differentiation is extremely transient in the digital age. What is niche today, soon becomes commoditized, and businesses are in a constant search for that factor that keeps them ahead in the game. In such a scenario, Digital Trust will emerge to be the single-most-important factor to help organizations differentiate themselves. Hence, a key stakeholder that will be responsible for infusing Trust in the ecosystem.

4. The concept of Digital Trust has an evolving roadmap

Today, there are varied definitions of Digital Trust, with different scope and levels of coverage. It ranges from covering just security in its simplest form, to including multiple intangibles like transparency, credibility, reputation, etc. in some cases. What is important to note is that the fluidity of the concept of trust makes accountability and ownership difficult. The best way to craft a Digital Trust roadmap for your organization, and make sure you execute it – get a CTrO!

5. Trust is non-replenishable

They say it takes a lifetime to build trust, and a moment to break it, and forever to repair it. This statement holds good in the business context too. There are numerous instances of brands losing all credibility and reputation because of a single breach of trust, and in most cases, it is extremely hard to win the trust of customers back. In fact, a recent study by Edelman shows that 45 percent of consumers said that a brand would never be able to regain their trust after it displays unethical behavior or suffers a controversy, while 40 percent said they would stop buying from that brand altogether. All this only further cements the role of a CTrO as an extremely important one and makes it non-negotiable for organizations to have one.

So, how is your organization approaching Digital Trust? Is it one of the strategic priorities? Are there people specifically responsible for it? Is there a plan to get a Chief Trust Officer in place? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested to read more about Digital Trust, you’ll find some useful material here.

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