Trust is what you’re selling

Trust can make or break your business. You can do something to secure trust in a growing sea of insecurity.

By Bill Clark

Mon 22 Apr 2019 @ 15:45

Thousands of businesses sell millions of goods and services around the world every day. And, as diverse as they are, there is one thing they all have in common: They’re all selling trust.

To one degree or another, every business transaction hinges on trust. When it’s broken, there are real consequences. Nearly half of consumers (48 per cent) have stopped using the services of at least one organisation due to a data breach.

What are we talking about?

It’s commonly said that trust is earned over time and lost in a moment. However, how best to define it? An article published by the Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) at Queen’s University defined it as "the level of positive expectation we have of another person, when in a situation of risk".

In the most basic transaction, one party either hands over goods or performs a service in exchange for payment. There is always the risk they will not be paid. Conversely, there is the risk that, if payment is made in advance, that the goods or services will not be provided. For small, straightforward transactions, the risk is minimal. However, the principle remains the same when scaled up by several orders of magnitude.

Personal trust, the type that builds up over time based on experience, can be strong and valuable, but in a fast-paced global business environment, that’s rarely practical. In addition to personal trust, the IRC says, businesses can use procedural trust to build a foundation of trust from the start.

Procedural trust revolves around an agreed set of terms and procedures that parties agree to beforehand. Assurance to each party is provided by transparency and consistent, verifiable steps.

In tech we trust

Consumers regularly see their personal information abused, often by companies that promised to keep their information safe. Even if companies try to protect client information, there have been many high-profile failures.

These compromises and the thousands of cyberattacks that happen every day are proof that guarding that trust is a 24/7 task. That’s where technology comes into play.

Next-generation SIEM systems allow organisations to respond to compromises of their systems quickly. The focus is on reducing the mean time to detect and respond to potential threats. Being able to deal with threats quickly protects your business and the information of your clients. And tightening privacy regulations, such as the European Union’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act, mean the penalties for compromised data have increased. Shutting down breaches quickly is vital.

The latest SIEM technology allows organisations to keep their networks secure while still connecting with outside suppliers and partners. User and entity behaviour analytics, meanwhile, allows you to trust but verify, keeping an eye on your users.

Don’t you trust me?

Some might say technology, monitoring and UEBA are the antithesis of trust, but they’re wrong.

Trust is evidence-based, just like the best cybersecurity. By continuing to maintain secure connections with clients, suppliers and partners, an organisation is showing that it is forward-thinking and prudent.

Trust is a competitive advantage. Given the complexity of modern IT systems, IoT and code, organisations have to trust suppliers and partners. It is impossible to vet every line of code in every combination. Partners and customers are looking for someone they can trust.

Learn more

Learn how LogRhythm can help you maintain the trust your customers and partners have in you