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9/10 organisations say digital trust extremely important

Almost half of consumers in APAC (42%) have stopped doing business with a company after losing trust in that company's digital security, according to the 2022 State of Digital Trust Survey from DigiCert.

The report found that if companies do not manage digital trust, 88% of their customers would consider switching, with 57% saying switching would be likely.

"Digital trust enables organisations and individuals to participate in the connected world with the confidence that their digital footprint is secure," the report says.

"Amid the backdrop of an expanding attack surface, leading organisations require digital trust for a variety of use cases, including connected device and user identity and access, data integrity, software security, email protection, and web and digital content integrity. 

"Companies that are strategically investing in digital trust are positioning themselves now as stewards of a secure, connected world."

Jason Sabin, CTO at DigiCert, says digital trust isn't just a buzzword. 

"It provides the freedom to fully participate in the digital world," he says. 

"It has become crucial to maintaining customer loyalty and the loss of it has a direct impact to the brand. If customers lose confidence in the digital trust competency of a vendor, they'll eventually leave."

One-hundred percent of enterprises surveyed said digital trust is important. Top reasons include the growing importance of data, an expanding threat surface, an increase in bad actors and pressure from customers. In APAC, the main reason is the expanding threat surface, with 91% of consumers being concerned about cyber threats, more than anywhere else in the world.

"Asia Pacific has suffered several cyber-attacks this year, like the recent Optus hack in Australia, or the Shangri-La data breach in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. With many industry reports showing a considerable increase of ransomware and phishing incidents in the region, enterprises are realising that being the next target is not a matter of if but when," says Ray Garnie, Vice President of APAC at DigiCert.

"It is against this backdrop that digital trust is a crucial security consideration for both companies and their consumers."

Nearly all (99%) enterprises believe it is possible that their customers would switch to a competitor if they lost trust in the enterprises digital security.

Enterprise and Consumer Perceptions Differ

It's also essential to take stock of how customers perceive the digital trust of an organisation. One-hundred percent of enterprises said their customers have more confidence in the enterprises digital trust today than in the past. Nearly three quarters (71%) said it is significantly more. Organisations recognise the importance of digital trust to their success, and top digital trust initiatives include increasing customer loyalty, reducing the number of security incidents and meeting regulatory requirements. But it isn't easy. The top three challenges IT cited include managing digital certificates, meeting regulatory compliance and handling the massive scope of digital assets to protect.

Consumers don't have the same perceptions as organisations. More than half (56%) of consumers surveyed have experienced cybersecurity attacks. Top attacks include account hacks, password exposure, and bank or credit account theft. More than half of the consumer respondents said their digital trust in the organisations they deal with is more than in the past, and 46% say there is room for improvement.

Regional Differences

Asia-Pacific rates digital trust as extremely important, more than any other region, except North America. For a region with stringent privacy laws, EMEA consumers are surprisingly relaxed about digital trust and have the lowest level of concern for cyber threats. However, EMEA shows strong interest at the enterprise level. Latin America-based enterprises lag behind the other regions in viewing digital trust as extremely important.

APAC and North America are most optimistic about how their customers trust has changed over time.  71% of APAC companies say their customers trust is significantly higher today. 82% of APAC companies are confident in the digital trust practices of their business partners. This is driven by only 25% of APAC organisations having experienced digital trust incidences.

Enterprises Valuing Digital Trust Perform Better

The survey included a series of questions to determine how well (or poorly) each respondent was doing across a wide range of digital trust metrics. After the scores were totalled, the respondents were split into three groups: leaders, laggards and those in the middle. The leaders and laggards were then compared to examine the differences and explore what the leaders were doing better. 

Within the APAC region, the leaders report doing twice as well as laggards with eCommerce website performance and availability, and 1.6 times as likely to say they are doing well at preventing phishing or other email-based attacks. The leaders range from 10% better to 200% better in every metric. Overall, the leaders approach to digital trust is more strategic. For example:

  • The top tier is more likely to believe a loss of customer trust will lead to a loss of that customer. They are also more likely to believe that digital trust affects their brand, sales and margin. In addition, they are almost twice as likely to say they would switch business partners if they lost trust.
  • The top tier is further along in their digital trust journey and will complete that journey much earlier than the bottom tier.
  • The top tier takes cyber threats much more seriously. They are as much as twice as likely to be concerned about cyber threats.
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