Defining and Understanding Trust Assurance

    By Sravish Sridhar, CEO & Founder, TrustCloud

    Trust is perhaps the most foundational principle that shapes how businesses operate. It’s important to customers, partners, employees, and just about any stakeholder you can think of. The process of building, earning, and keeping trust for an organization is quite complex, as it often is between people. No amount of analysis or metrics can calculate just how valuable trust really is. And in today’s increasingly digital world, trust feels more important than ever before. 


    Even simple purchases today often ask consumers to provide some form of personal information or to create an account. Our devices, email addresses, and personal information are shared with and connected to the brands we choose to do business with. The same applies to business-to-business interactions. Regulatory requirements and business complexity continues to grow, but CISOs are stuck with legacy tools and spreadsheets that provide limited visibility into security posture. Today’s digitally connected business world is giving rise to the concept of “trust assurance.”


    Pillars of Trust Assurance 

    Trust assurance enables a consistent, adaptable measure of confidence that privacy and security controls, processes, and systems are effective, predictive, and transparent. It ensures that risks are mitigated to meet compliance standards for a given industry, country, contract, etc., and that this will be the case on an ongoing basis. Modern CISOs are being asked to reduce enterprise risk and align with business growth. By adopting the core pillars of trust assurance, they can build an InfoSec program that earns the trust of customers, as well as company leadership.


    1. Predictive: Modern IT-GRC (government, risk, compliance) programs and platforms are moving to real-time risk management. With the power of artificial intelligence (AI), platforms today can adapt to meet changing organizational needs. GRC platforms should be able to automatically adapt to changes in business and regulatory requirements by updating policies and the associated controls and tests, as well as adjusting risk assessments in real time.

    2. Integrated: A system cannot be truly predictive or real time if it’s built on siloed, static data. APIs and data graphs are critical infrastructure elements that enable time efficiency, data accuracy, and overall confidence in GRC program efficacy.  

    3. Transparency: Successful CISOs and InfoSec leaders do not work in the shadows; their security program and its impact should be clear to potential customers and partners, as well as company leadership.  Without the ability to clearly communicate the impact of GRC programs, CISOs will continue to be undervalued and underfunded. 


    Trust Assurance Business Value

    By embodying the pillars of trust assurance, CISOs can deliver newfound business value to their organization. This includes:

    • Lowering Costs: IT and GRC budgets are shrinking, while manual solutions are not effective enough for managing the modern threat landscape and compliance requirements. Investing in an AI and API-based programmatic automation and verification solution for GRC delivers cost savings, even as GRC programs scale up or require more maintenance to meet compliance and security standards. 

    • Accelerating Revenue: As organizations need to meet an expanding list of regulatory requirements, manual processes won’t cut it. But trust assurance embodies transparent, real-time API-based sharing of a company’s trust posture. This unlocks the ability to close deals faster and evaluate vendor risk with greater accuracy. 

    • Protecting Against Liability: CISOs can verify their organization is meeting contractual privacy and security regulation requirements, calculate risk, and evaluate the effectiveness of controls in place. With clear visibility into control status and quantitative risk assessment, CISOs can provide metrics on how the program reduces overall risk and liability.

    • Building a Culture of Trust: By making sure every employee is trained and educated on GRC and cybersecurity, it builds a culture of trust. Everyone knows their responsibility and role in protecting their organization, as well as protecting the data and shared information with customers and partners. 


    An Evolving Threat Environment Requires A New Approach 

    CISOs today have to navigate an array of different security challenges. Internally, they must manage and protect their services and servers, with complex IT infrastructures, cloud migration, and ongoing compliance requirements. They must also support the business, product, and sales teams with vendor security and compliance assessments, certifications, and questionnaires. 


    Automation has helped to streamline some of these often labor-intensive tasks and associated human errors. But most automated platforms rely on static information and standardized workflows and processes. When a new customer has tailored specifications, it can create plenty more work than expected. By relying on point-in-time data, the dynamic nature of organizational infrastructure and associated risk is not truly captured and addressed. 


    Instead, CISOs need to buy into trust assurance. With the support of technology that leverages AI and APIs for integrated, real-time, predictive GRC capabilities, and the accountability and understanding that comes from everyone being on the same page for security, CISOs can build trust assurance with stakeholders. So as changes happen in real-time, or specific requests come in, compliance, security, and trust can be prioritized and kept.


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