The Emergence of Trust 

Trust initiatives are becoming an increasingly important agenda item for executives and boards. More companies are naming chief trust officers, creating formalized trust initiatives, and measuring trust as a metric for themselves and their business partners.  

Global analyst firms have recognized the momentum businesses are putting into their Trust initiatives.  According to predictions by Market research firm IDC: 

Why Now? 

What is the driver for the emergence of trust? There are several factors to consider. Digital transformation and the digital economy are not new but show no signs of slowing or stopping. Organizations continue to collect more data, as regulators catch up to keep them accountable for how they use and protect the data. Additionally, as the world goes digital, criminals have exploited new opportunities. Cyber-crime is at an all-time high, shifting cyber risk to be top of mind for organizations faced with increasing threats and breaches. Ultimately, the emergence of trust as a priority is a result of the erosion of trust. 

Trust is a priority to boards and executives because it is a priority for customers, employees, and shareholders. Trust is synonymous with loyalty in many instances. More people are choosing to buy or work for a brand based on trust, and the bar for gaining and maintaining trust is rising. To establish loyalty in the past, brands just needed to solve a problem for the individual. Today, people want brands to go beyond solving a problem – to enrich their lives, be a source of joy, educate, and inspire them. Additionally, brands are expected to solve problems for society at large. With more choice and selection than ever available in the market, people are enabled to bring trust to the forefront of their decision-making criteria. 

Trust Pays Dividends 

We’ve always intrinsically known that trust is important, but recent research from Edelman in the Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020 provides hard numbers to back that up. The report found that companies that are trusted unlock deeper relationships with their customers, who become: 

  • 7x more willing to pay a premium   
  • 7x more willing to share data   
  • 6x more loyal   
  • show 5x more advocacy   
  • 4x more consideration   
  • 48% more website visits   
  • purchase 14% more     

Trusted companies are not only more financially successful, they are more resilient. 

Why Should the CISO Care?  

The CISO plays an obvious role in helping their organizations build trust as it relates to data — keeping it secure. Frank Dickson, Program Vice President, IDC’s Security and Trust, explains how trust changes the narrative for the CISO:  

“Trust is an up-leveling of the security conversation to include attributes such as risk, compliance, privacy, and even business ethics…However, trust is more than just about mitigating harm but also maximizing return, creating a differentiated impact on revenue, expenses, and shareholder value.” 

Prioritizing trust as a primary objective of security and compliance elevates the CISO’s office from a cost center to a value generator.  

For younger companies, establishing trust generally means becoming compliant with security standards and achieving certifications to provide prospective customers with assurance. This helps them build and exhibit trust to win more business and enable revenue.  

As companies grow, the CISO builds out risk management and security functions. These functions are foundational to maintaining trust. They go beyond risk mitigation and security assurance – to protect brand reputation, foster customer loyalty, and retain revenue. The role of the CISO is to enable the business — to help their companies build trust and use it as a competitive advantage. 

How OneTrust Can Help

To learn more about the CISOs role in trust from OneTrust’s Chief Trust Officer, Head of CISO Center of Excellence, and Global GRC Offering Lead, register for our webinar The CISOs Role in Driving Trust: Why it Matters, How to Define it, and What Success Looks Like  


Further Reading on Trust and Cybersecurity: 

Next Steps on Trust:  


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