The ROI of Trust

The ROI of Trust

Treat security and privacy spending not as something you have to do but as something you want to do

How Companies Secure Trust

Given the status of security and privacy today, the CIO is most often anointed as enterprise information security and privacy champion. Therefore, CIOs should lead the enterprise to a trust-based business model. The first step is to rethink how the business can engage all stakeholders in a secure and private manner through its technology-supported business processes.

Trust must be earned every day through consistent operational excellence, which includes leading-edge information protection. When stakeholders' experiences with an institution consistently meet or exceed their expectations, these experiences build awareness, then breed familiarity and finally, earn trust — which inevitably translates into profit. In this way, trust undergirds enduring success.

Take as an example American Express. As an employee there in the late 1960s and early 70s I participated as Amex established one of the earliest global financial networks. Amex provided its card members and service establishments with, at the time, a revolutionary new way to do business: They could execute secure and private financial transactions anytime anywhere in the world. To make this so, Amex created an operational approach to ensure that transactions would be absolutely accurate, fully consistent with the individual's ability to pay and protected to the fullest degree practical against fraud and disclosure.

The linchpin of this model was and is the magnetic-striped card that identifies and validates individual card members and other authorized stakeholders to use the integrated global network. Driven by Amex's then CEO, the offering from its outset focused on using technology and innovative business processes (many of which had to be invented) to capture the frequent traveller market. The model also had to assure service establishments accepting the card, as well as corporate management and financial institutions, that fraud would be strictly controlled.

Amex's approach, with systematic enhancements, has endured for nearly 40 years and continues to earn the company trusted status around the world. As proof, Amex was voted as the most trusted company in the United States two years in a row by respondents to a survey by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy think tank. Amex's trust-based approach to security and privacy has won it a pre-eminent position in the financial services industry worldwide.

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