Digital dependency and the public need for digital trust
Published 1 Feb 2022
In our increasingly connected world, newfound risks including misinformation, digital deception and a blurring of the lines between personal and digital safety are now threatening societal trust in digital systems and technologies.
Mark Brown discusses the implications of accelerated digital transformation on both organizations and society and outlines how building and instilling digital trust at every level of society is key to ensuring the success and resilience of those operating in the digital sphere moving forward.
"At BSI, we define digital trust as establishing and managing trust in the digital interactions and relationships between business, people and things. Digital trust underpins every digital interaction by measuring and quantifying the expectation that an entity is who, or what, it claims to be and that it will behave in an expected manner.”
- Mark Brown, Global Managing Director, Digital Trust, Consulting Services at BSI
Over the last two decades, an increasing reliance on digital systems has drastically altered how societies around the world behave and function. In the last eighteen months in particular, this trend has been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many industries have undergone accelerated digital transformations, employees have shifted to remote or hybrid working models, and platforms, systems and devices facilitating this change have multiplied.
Whilst the migration of society to this new digital world shows no signs of relenting, the threat of cybercrime looms larger than ever, consistently costing businesses around the world tens, or even hundreds, of millions of dollars.
Cybersecurity threats are growing in frequency and sophistication. For example, as reported in the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2022, published in January, during 2020 as the global society dealt with COVID-19, malware attacks tripled, and ransomware attacks quadrupled. The negative implications are not limited to organizational impacts such as financial loss and brand reputation. Such incidents can also cause damage to transport infrastructure, information and communication systems, social cohesion and individual mental health can be put in jeopardy.
These major cyber-attacks are now outpacing organizations and societies’ ability to effectively prevent or respond to them, in truth organizations are having to sprint to stand still in the face of this tsunami of cybercrime. The situation is becoming exasperated by several factors including more sophisticated means of attack, a distinct lack of cybersecurity professionals to fill demand and more opportunities for entry for malicious attacks.
Within today’s deeply connected world, digital trust is the currency that drives future innovation and success. Newfound risks including misinformation, digital deception and a blurring of the lines between personal and digital safety are now threatening societal trust in digital systems and technologies.
In order to operate safely and efficiently in this new digital realm, societies, organizations and those who lead them must adapt. Elevating the impact of cyber threats and risk within the boardroom and educating leaders on digital trust is pivotal to strengthening cyber-resilience in all arenas. Likewise, reliable systems and technologies represent the foundations upon which a fair and cohesive society is built and elevated. Unless all facets of society congregate to improve societal digital trust through informed and determined trust-building initiatives, this new digital world will continue on a divisive and potentially permanently fractured path. Should that be the case the promised land, visible through one of the most dynamic eras of human progress may be lost.
Given today’s cyber threat landscape and the emergence of new technologies, it is imperative that organizations have the correct protocols, policies, and procedures in place to keep their information safe, data secure, infrastructure robust and ultimately, make them resilient.
Here at BSI, we are committed to working with both organizations and societies towards great cyber resilience and, ultimately, instilling digital trust. We partner with over 77,500 customers in 195 countries and establish digital trust with their employees, customers, shareholders, and communities. We help organizations to achieve a state of enhanced and sustainable digital trust through our integrated portfolio of products and services. BSI Digital trust is specifically tasked with providing cyber risk advisory and security testing services to clients, looking at areas like data privacy, compliance, and governance, as well as niche capabilities such as e-discovery, and e-forensics.
In addition to these core services, we have developed a large number of new and enhanced services directed at overcoming the threat involved with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G and blockchain. Industrial security services supporting Industry 4.0 transformation programs are also offered by BSI, including but not limited to OT and IoT security, penetration testing technology arenas such as infrastructure, network application, attack simulation and red teaming exercises.