Global State of Digital Trust Survey and Index 2018
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Great talking to Mo Rosen, Senior Vice President and General Manager Cybersecurity at CA Technologies about their Global State of Digital Trust Study and index 2018.
The last year has put our faith in the digital economy to the test. The companies that we trusted to be good stewards of our data have failed us. According to the Verizon Data Breach Incident Report, there have been more than 2,216 confirmed data breaches in the last year, and Mark Zuckerberg was on the congressional hot seat for Facebook’s mishandling of the data of 87 million users. There is a lot to question about whether consumers should trust organizations with their data. Ultimately, the pain of poor data stewardship is felt by all of us, as consumers, when our personal information is breached and our identities are stolen.
As businesses of all types create new online goods and services for their customers, they are consuming an increasing amount of personally identifiable user data. Understanding how businesses view their duty of care to protect that data is important, as is how that understanding compares to customer expectations.
For the Global State of Digital Trust Study and Index 2018, CA Technology partnered with Frost and Sullivan to conduct a global survey of consumers, cybersecurity professionals, and business executives about their trust in the organizations that collect digital data. Their goal was to understand the differences in the perspectives of these very different audiences. Do they hold the same view of the importance of digital trust ? How is digital trust viewed differently around the world? With that information, they built an evaluation index that can be measured over time to understand how the state of digital trust globally is evolving.
From the responses to this survey, the Digital Trust Index for 2018 is 61 points out of 100. The index is calculated based on a number of different metrics that measure key factors around the concept of digital trust, including how willing consumers are to share personal data with organizations and how well they think organizations protect that data. The result is a sliding scale where a 1 represents “no trust” and 100 is “total trust.”
Given the level of attention and priority that consumers, business decision makers, and cybersecurity professionals assigned to the topic of security, this figure is low with a 39-point chasm between “total trust” and consumer reality. Intensifying the problem, organizations believe consumer trust in them is much higher than it actually is, creating a perception gap with little incentive to improve.
Key themes that emerged from the research include:
Flagging Consumer Trust: Only half of consumers (49 percent) are willing to provide their personal data in exchange for digital services, and 54 percent distrust organizations enough to believe they will sell their personal data to other companies. These figures stand in contrast to the views of organizations that believe they still have the trust of their consumers.
But Businesses Don’t See It: There is a 14-point gap between the Digital Trust Index of consumers (61 percent) and the perceptions of business decision makers and cybersecurity professionals (75 percent). Consumers are even less trusting of companies that can be seen as poor data stewards, because they have suffered a breach. Mo was surprised that half of the customers that use or have used services from an organization that experienced a data breach stopped using those services because of the breach. Organizations appear to have a lot of self-confidence in their ability to protect consumer data, with 90 percent claiming they are very good at protecting consumer data, even though the rate and pace of data breaches and stolen identities continues to rise unabated.
Mismatched Perceptions of Data Stewardship: Despite this confidence, business leaders are not demonstrating they are taking the right steps to protect consumer data. Mo was also surprised that nearly half (43 percent) of business executives admit to selling consumer data, including personally identifiable information (PII). Nonetheless, 92 percent of business executives believe better data privacy is a point of differentiation for them versus their competitors.
The Need for Security-Driven Cultures: As data privacy becomes an increasing concern for consumers and businesses alike, companies need to adopt a security-driven culture across their entire organization. While business leaders view that they have sufficient security measures in place, only 60 percent of cybersecurity professionals feel that non-security staff are trained to protect consumer data. This represents a 21-percent gap between business and security leaders, which shows business executives believe they are doing enough to protect consumer data, but security experts disagree. Only when the gap in perception between business leaders and cybersecurity professionals closes can we reasonably conclude that consumer data is safer as a result of an organization’s improved security posture.
Consumers are losing control of their data, whether they want to or not. Initiatives like the E.U. GDPR have grown out of an increasing distrust that businesses will be good stewards of the data they collect without strong oversight. There is a lot of work to do to earn back consumer trust, but before we begin, we need to know where we started.
You can download the full results of the 2018 CA Technologies Global State of Digital Trust Survey and Index from our website here.
 For this survey, digital trust is the confidence placed in an organization to collect, store, and use the digital information of others in a manner that benefits and protects those to whom the information pertains.
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