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90% companies in APAC rate digital trust highly: DigiCert

DigiCert, a provider of digital trust, has released its 2022 State of Digital Trust Survey that finds that almost half of consumers in APAC (42%) have stopped doing business with a company after losing trust in that company’s digital security.

If companies do not manage the digital trust, 88% of their customers would consider switching, with 57% saying switching would be likely.

Dallas-based Eleven Research administered the survey to 400 global IT, Information Security and DevOps senior and C-level managers, of which 100 were within APAC, from enterprises with 1,000 or more employees. Four hundred consumers were also surveyed. Responses were global. 

Digital trust enables organisations and individuals to participate in the connected world with the confidence that their digital footprint is secure. Amid an expanding attack surface, leading organisations require digital trust for various use cases, including connected device and user identity and access, data integrity, software security, email protection, and web and digital content integrity. As a result, companies strategically investing in the digital trust are now positioning themselves as stewards of a secure, connected world.

“Digital trust isn't just a buzzword. It provides the freedom to fully participate in the digital world,” says Jason Sabin, CTO at DigiCert. 

“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 per cent of enterprises surveyed said digital trust is important. 

The 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. It is against this backdrop that digital trust is a crucial security consideration for both companies and their consumers,” notes Ray Garnie, Vice President of APAC at DigiCert. 

Nearly all (99%) enterprises believe their customers would switch to a competitor if they lost trust in the enterprise's digital security.

It’s also essential to take stock of how customers perceive the digital trust of an organisation. 

One hundred per cent of enterprises said their customers have more confidence in the enterprise's 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 have different perceptions than 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. However, 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.

Organisations in the Asia-Pacific rate 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. As a result, Latin America-based enterprises need to catch up in viewing digital trust as extremely important.

APAC and North America are most optimistic about how their customers' trust has changed.  

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. It is driven by only 25% of APAC organisations having experienced digital trust incidences. 

The survey included a series of questions determining 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're 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. 

Finally, DigiCert recommends the following steps to improve digital trust.

Make digital trust a strategic imperative. This was one of the clear differentiators for the top-tier enterprises, which recognised that digital trust impacts important business outcomes such as brand, customer loyalty, revenue and margins.

Establish a Digital Trust Office within the organisation’s technology function, with a clear leader empowered with decision-making power.

Recognise that digital trust awareness is rising among users, including consumers, and that your business success and reputation are tied directly to your ability to ensure digital trust at a high level.
 
Enlist expert help in the quest for digital trust. One of the digital trust challenges cited by enterprises was a lack of staff expertise. Make sure the partners one brings on have a comprehensive portfolio spanning the building blocks of digital trust and can provide solutions for unified trust management for your entire organisation.

Establish clear lines of digital trust communication with customers, explaining the commitment to digital trust and the progress.

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