Money Can’t Buy Me Trust

If you’re an IT leader and work in an organisation like many that we speak with, you’re undergoing an enormous transformation in how you engage your customers, partners, suppliers, and even your staff.

Huge opportunities exist for organisations that transform their business effectively, but with great change comes great risks.

A digital enterprise relies on establishing trust in the digital channel to be effective. Without it, your digital channels may be ineffective and your business may not thrive or even survive.

So, as an IT Leader, how will you elevate the trust in your organisation?

Money alone won’t buy you trust – it must be earned and it may take months or even years for your customers, staff and other stakeholders to get on board, but can be quickly and easily lost.

A major risk to trust erosion is a cyber incident. This can be very damaging for your brand and trust can be lost in a flash. Customer perception quickly becomes reality and they want to know:

  • How did the incident occur and why was it not prevented?
  • How quickly and comprehensively was the incident detected?
  • How well did your organisation respond to the incident?

Improving your organisation's maturity in these areas will improve trust, but there are other proactive measures you can take to start the road to elevating trust in your companies digital brand.

  1. Look at which digital channels matter to your business and double-down on improving the trust of those channels, be this email, web, social or mobile. For example, if your business relies heavily on email for the delivery of digital communications, work on ensuring your emails arrive in the inbox (not the junk folder) and your domains are protected from brand spoofing with email authentication (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC). Explore BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Indicators) which will add your logo when received by major mailbox providers. Rebuild trust of the email itself with your staff, but preventing phishing / BEC attacks coming inbound to staff. The fact is, Email remains the #1 business application for most businesses, so it stands to reason that we should do more to secure this channel.
  2. Look at how effective your business is set up to detect a cyber attack before it becomes a breach. Indicators of compromise (IOC) are the precursors to a data breach or other malicious attack. Having the tools and internal capabilities to identify and interpret this data set can be the difference between preventing a breach or moseying along unaware of what lurks in your environment. Start by looking at what detection capabilities exist with your existing toolset and refine the outputs from there. After that, Threat and Endpoint Detection & Response (TDR/EDR), Threat Hunting, Threat Intelligence, Monitoring, and Alerting should all be in your planning and the maturity of these is key to the success of maturing your rapid detection capability.
  3. Build out your internal capability and process to respond to a cyber incident, ensuring this is tested regularly. This should include both IT and non-IT functions such as the executive team, communications, and the business. A cyber incident can have a significant impact on the business, so it’s critical that they are engaged in the planning and testing stages so that if an incident was to occur, they are ready too. Working with a specialised third party will help you see the ‘blind spots’ you may not be aware of.
  4. Identity remains a central pillar to elevating trust – but historically improving security around identity led onerous and complex controls. Safeguarding your identity & access management will prevent unauthorised access and risks of a data breach, especially in a world of hundreds of SaaS applications that can be accessed from anywhere. The old way to secure this was via clunky MFA/2FA products, causing end-user friction and frustration. My observation is that even the enterprises that have deployed I&AM solutions do a poor job of unifying identity & access across cloud applications, but instead take a point approach to secure only a few applications. Conversely, when done well a modern-day I&AM / SSO solutions provide a unique opportunity to improve user productivity whilst also increasing security and trust.

As an organisation, it’s no longer enough to just deliver great products and services to your customers. Your customers and other stakeholders expect safety and the protection of their most prized asset – their personal information.

To close, there are 3 questions I’d encourage any CISO to ask themselves and their teams:

  1. How can you improve trust in your digital brand?
  2. What initiatives should you undertake to ensure trust is retained?
  3. How can you improve staff, executive and board level trust in their cyber programs?

We will be discussing these topics and more at our upcoming TrustNet conference. For more details and to register your interest in attending, visit

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