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As organizations place advanced data and sophisticated analytics at the heart of their operations and reshape customer experiences with innovative digital services, new cyber security and privacy challenges are emerging that require corporate leaders to take digital trust seriously.

Building and protecting trust is now integral to how businesses operate and interact with stakeholders. KPMG’s “2022 Cyber Trust Insights” report surveyed 1,881 executives to outline five key steps to building trust through cybersecurity and privacy.

These steps are: weaving cybersecurity and privacy into the fabric of the organization; building internal alliances; evolving the role of the chief information security officer (CISO); and, collaborating with other partners in the corporate ecosystem as key to increased trust.

And with that trust comes improved profitability—according to more than a third of respondents—along with better customer retention and stronger commercial relationships. Innovation, talent retention and an increased market share are also possible if organizations recognize that digital trust matters.

According to KPMG International Global Cyber Security Practice Leader Akhilesh Tuteja, “each new data activity that an organization embarks on exposes them to potential vulnerabilities and risks that should be guarded against to maintain trust.”

"Executives are starting to acknowledge these risks—many of the respondents [78 percent] agree that new technologies [such as AI and machine learning] come with unique, and often ill-understood, cyber security and trust challenges. If these challenges aren’t adequately addressed, the risk to an organization can be extreme,” Tuteja said.

Digital transformation is well underway across every industry, with businesses overhauling their technology. Data from KPMG’s Global Tech Report, launched earlier this year, revealed 61 percent of businesses expect to embrace disruptive new tech platforms within two years and, over the next three years, say they will increasingly ramp up their digital investments. KPMG’s research and perspective show that for these new emerging technologies to be adopted successfully, businesses must be able to instill trust.

The “2022 Cyber Trust Insight” report found over 80 percent of executives understand the importance of improving cyber security and data protection to securing stakeholder trust. They are also looking to their CISOs to be a champion of digital trust.

CISOs themselves know what is at stake, and although many have the confidence of their employers, others do not have a mandate to fulfill their objectives in building stakeholder trust. Almost two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) say that information security is seen by their organizations as a risk-reduction activity, rather than a business enabler. And 57 percent say that senior leaders do not understand the competitive benefits that are possible due to enhanced trust that is enabled by better information security.

CISOs understand their responsibilities, but the research shows that many are struggling to fulfill them. This could be because the organization they are in lacks a clear vision of what digital trust really means and the difference it can make.