Digital trust will only become more important, but businesses aren’t prioritizing it—skills are lagging, and only 1 in 5 companies is increasing budget

by | Jun 6, 2024 | Public Relations

Consumers are aware that they have to watch their step with online transactions—if not, their credit card details can obviously be at risk, but so can their full digital identities. And with breaches happening so often that they don’t even make the news anymore, it’s like the internet has reverted to its wild west stage. AI is certainty in that stage—with the lack of regulation, shortage of skills, and many brands’ risky deployments, every transaction has a Russian Roulette feel. How are we supposed to develop any brand trust in those volatile conditions?

Brands and businesses urgently need to prioritize digital trust to achieve their goals and prepare for future opportunities, legislation and regulatory compliance, affirms new research from business consultancy ISACA. The firm’s new State of Digital Trust 2024 report reveals new data and insights around the areas of familiarity, priority, confidence, maturity, obstacles, and responsibility related to digital trust from more than 5,800 global digital trust professionals.

digital trust

Despite perceived importance, prioritization not keeping up

The report finds that 78 percent of respondents agree that digital trust is important to digital transformation and 82 percent say digital trust will grow in importance over the next five years, yet strategies and action to address these challenges are lagging, with only 20 percent planning to increase budget for digital trust.

Only 27 percent say increased revenue is a current benefit of digital trust, which may indicate organizations are missing opportunities to improve revenues by prioritizing digital trust practices. The report identifies other significant benefits of high levels of digital trust, including:

  • Positive reputation (71 percent)
  • More reliable data for decision-making (60 percent)
  • Fewer privacy breaches (60 percent)

“This is a time of extraordinary potential because digital trust decides whether someone is going to trust a business; give it their money or personal information for products and services; and continue to work with it if (or more likely, when) the business experiences an outage, breach or other adverse event. Improving digital trust presents a significant opportunity to increase revenue,” said Rolf von Roessing, partner and CEO, FORFA Consulting AG and ISACA Evangelist, in a news release.

digital trust

Few measuring digital trust maturity

Ninety-four percent of survey respondents who measure digital trust consider it extremely/very important to their organization and 93 percent feel it is extremely/very important to measure the maturity of their organization’s digital trust practices. Still, in total, only 23 percent say their organization measures digital trust maturity.

One expected growth area is independent third-party digital trust assessments, which contribute to building customer loyalty from a reliable and transparent evaluation. According to the survey, 70 percent believe it is extremely/very important for organizations to be independently graded on digital trust practices and that the results should be available publicly. This increases to 83 percent among those who currently measure digital trust maturity.

Eighty-one percent of respondents agree that organizations that demonstrate their commitment to digital trust—for example, with a high score rating from an independent third-party assessment—would ultimately be more successful.

When looking at confidence levels, only half (52 percent) of respondents are confident in the digital trustworthiness of their organization.

digital trust

Facing obstacles

The survey finds that lack of staff skills/training is the biggest obstacle to achieving digital trustworthiness at 53 percent and is the same across all geographic regions and industry sectors. Additional top obstacles include:

  • Lack of leadership buy-in (44 percent)
  • Lack of budget (44 percent)
  • Lack of alignment of digital trust and enterprise goals (43 percent)
  • Digital trust not a priority (39 percent)
  • Lack of technological resources (37 percent)
  • Insufficient processes and/or governance practices (37 percent)

“When executive leaders actively advocate for digital trust, it gains stronger buy-in, which then cascades into priority, alignment, budgets, training, and technical resources, overcoming many of the key challenges that can hold them back in realizing strong levels of digital trustworthiness,” said Karen Heslop, VP Content Development at ISACA, in the release.

digital trust

Leveraging tools and frameworks to advance trust

According to the survey, only 18 percent of respondents’ organizations currently used a framework for their digital trust practices, but 55 percent believed it was extremely/very important for an organization to have one. ISACA recently launched its Digital Trust Ecosystem Framework (DTEF), a comprehensive digital trust resource with indicators and controls that can be used and customized for the needs of all organizations.

Download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


5 effective PR strategies for small businesses in 2024

5 effective PR strategies for small businesses in 2024

Small businesses might have the impression that there’s no need to worry about having a PR strategy—if you build it they will come, and all that. But the reality is that this is just as much a part of being profitable whether you’re operating on a local scale or...