SGTech announced the formation of a Digital Trust Committee at the inauguration ceremony for TÜV SÜD @ IBP, the new regional hub of the SGTech member.

SGTech announced the formation of a Digital Trust Committee at the inauguration ceremony for TÜV SÜD @ IBP, the new regional hub of the SGTech member.

Here’s why SGTech set up a digital trust committee

Singapore’s tech trade association SGTech last week announced the formation of a Digital Trust Committee, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

According to the organization, this move aimed to rally the industry to come together to develop a framework for digital trust and enable companies to provide products and services using data, that are compliant with data regulations. Additionally, it aims to educate and raise awareness of its importance amongst businesses and consumers.

What is Digital Trust?

Digital trust is the “confidence users have in the ability of people, technology, and processes to create a secure digital world”, according to Tech Target

When companies show that they can provide safety, privacy, security, reliability, and exercise data ethics with their online programs or devices, consumers will have high digital trust in that brand or company. 

Speaking at the event, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the digital revolution can only succeed if there is digital trust. “There is a huge amount of digital data being generated daily, and we must ensure that these data are adequately protected and appropriately used. This requires us to build up digital trust capabilities.”

The committee will be chaired by Mr. Philip Heah, with initial members including the likes of Alibaba, Credence Lab, Drew and Napier, Eden Strategy Institute, Experian, IBM, KPMG, Totally Awesome TV, and TÜV SÜD.  

Digital trust not just important for companies

“Companies engaging with consumers are leveraging customer data to provide services. The web of partners and suppliers in the digital economy also means that practices must be in place to safeguard sensitive data throughout the value chain. Digital trust will play an increasing role in ensuring that businesses demonstrate top-notch accountability and governance,” said Heah.

In recent years, Singapore has been hit by multiple cyberattacks, some of which have had very disastrous implications for those affected. In August this year, eye clinic Eye & Retina Surgeons (ERS), was hit by a ransomware attack that put the data of over 73,000 patients at risk. 

In 2018, SingHealth, Singapore’s largest group of healthcare institutions, suffered a data breach. Seen by many as possibly the worst data breach in the republic’s history, it affected 1.5 million SingHealth patients, including politicians and Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong himself.

Digital trust is important as it separates the wheat from the chaff — that is to say, dependable services from corrupt or unreliable ones. 

Entities with high digital trust help consumers decide on a secure service rather than an unreliable one because the consumer will feel reassured that they will be receiving what they are asking for in a safe, secure, and reliable manner. The higher the digital trust of a company, the more users or customers it will have.

According to Jeffrey Ritter from TechTarget, “it is used by both digital service companies and their consumers. Consumers are more likely to use a company that is trustworthy than one that is unreliable. Companies aim to gain digital trust from consumers and use this goal to digitally transform themselves and create greater confidence in security, safety, privacy, and reliability among consumers.”

A recent study by independent identity provider Okta showed that when it comes to building a brand’s digital trust, consumers care most about a company’s service reliability, strong security, quick response times, and good data handling practices.

The Okta study also found that Asian consumers are most likely to lose trust in brands that intentionally misuse or sell personal data, followed by brands that fall prey to a data breach. 

Multiple protective policies are the way to go

As businesses, governments, and other entities become increasingly connected through the internet, so too have cyber and privacy risks increased — mainly due to the value behind the entities holding top-tier data such as health information. 

As most organizations are digitalized in some way, their success will also take into account their cybersecurity and data protection profiles. As such, companies cannot afford to overlook their cyberprotection, as well as data protection policies. 

Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to ensure they are using the most reliable services, forcing organizations around the world to re-evaluate and transform the way they run their operations to provide greater security and reliability. 

While it’s fine and often necessary to collect data for business purposes, companies can do better by approaching data collection and retention methods through an ethics and data privacy-first framework to ensure that trust exists between staff, customers, and partners.

Singapore’s SGTech’s Digital Trust Committee aims to drive ground-up initiatives for digital trust, including establishing internationally recognized standards and practices and creating products and services built on digital trust.

They will also work closely with groups such as SGTech’s Data Protection Committee and stakeholders such as Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission to raise awareness of its importance.