Why Enterprises Should Take Digital Trust Seriously

by Mr Colin Tan. General Manager & Technology Leader, IBM Singapore


Here’s something to chew on: An increase in digital trust prevalence of 5 percentage points can boost a country’s average GDP per capita by about US$3,000, according to a multi-country survey commissioned by Callsign Inc and conducted by the UK-based CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research).The survey, conducted in February 2022, polled respondents in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Benelux, the Middle East Asia, Africa, UK, US, Nordics, and the Philippines.

Given that almost everyone is now online, the call for companies and governments to take digital trust seriously is most pertinent. As per the World Bank, Singapore’s GDP per capita in 2021 was US$72,794. The boost in digital trust will enable Singapore’s GDP per capita to cross S$100,000.

Why is trust in data so crucial? Because the volume of data created globally will balloon to 180 zettabytes by 2025—from 64.2 zettabytes in 2020, according to research house, Statista. In 2020, the amount of data created reached a new high. The growth was higher than previously expected, caused by the increased demand because of the pandemic, as more worked, learnt and played from home.

Trusting Data

The concern? “Only a small percentage of this newly created data is kept. Just 2 per cent of the data produced and consumed in 2020 was saved and retained into 2021,” Statista notes. “In line with the vigorous growth of data volume, the installed base of storage capacity may increase at a 19.2 per cent annual rate from 2020 to 2025. In 2020, the installed base of all storage reached 6.7 zettabytes.”

There is, therefore, an urgent need for a data trust certification system. Last year, Credence Lab launched an initiative, called DTRS (Data Trust Rating System). A consortium of firms developed it, including IBM, KPMG, Alibaba Group, Drew & Napier, Eden Strategy Institute, and NUS. TÜV SÜD will handle assessments and certification with SGTech as the backbone and coordinator.

Enterprises need a proactive approach to address regulatory compliance with digital solutions to help them recognise and internalise new regulations to protect their stakeholders. Many organisations are leveraging customer data to provide services. Practices need to be in place to safeguard sensitive data throughout the value chain. Digital trust will therefore play a crucial role in ensuring enterprises demonstrate accountability and governance.

In fact, IBM was one of the first companies to appoint a CPO (Chief Privacy Officer) and to publish a privacy policy. IBM was also an early leader in adopting the EU Data Protection Code of Conduct for Cloud Service Providers, and in securing certification under the EU-US Privacy Shield. It was the first company in the world to become certified under the APEC CBPR (Cross-Border Privacy Rules).

Moreover, [email protected], a streamlined set of focused security and privacy practices, has been launched. It embeds security and privacy into the design of IBM’s products and services. [email protected] is aligned with the US NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)’s SSDF (Secure Software Development Framework) which drives processes that are required across all business units.

Privacy Practices

To build trust in smart technologies, enterprises must ensure the right data and AI foundations are in place. Building trust begins with governance to ensure that data and AI can be trusted. Data must be accurate, accessible, secure, and relevant. Enterprises need to take a holistic approach to managing and governing data across the entire AI lifecycle. IBM offers innovative governed data and AI approaches built on five focus areas—transparency, explainability, robustness, fairness, and privacy.

For instance, organisations that go beyond simple regulatory compliance can build trust with clients and stand out from competitors. IBM Security solutions can assist companies to deliver trusted customer experiences with a holistic, adaptive approach to data privacy based on zero trust principles. IBM Security Guardium software provides advanced data security that’s integrated and scalable. And IBM Security Verify delivers privacy-aware consumer identity and access management.

Our principles for trust and transparency reflect IBM’s position as the world’s largest steward of enterprise data and as a leader in developing and deploying new technologies like AI, cloud, and quantum computing, including data and insights. These are values that have served us and our clients well for decades. The core purpose of AI is, after all, to augment human intelligence.

No matter how the future evolves, CIOs and CTOs will play a vital role in how tech shapes it. Braver and bolder, but also more vulnerable and uncertain, more artificially intelligent yet more humanistic, the world will reflect not only our aspirations and needs, but also our biases, oversights, and neglect.

The stakes are immense, but so are the opportunities for collaboration, increased effectiveness and investments that advance technology maturity. The steps we take now will determine our future.

Mr Colin Tan is General Manager & Technology Leader, IBM Singapore. IBM Singapore is a Member of the SGTech Digital Trust Committee.


Pioneering Digital Trust

SGTech believes that there is an opportunity to position Singapore as a global node for digital and data, based on trust. 

Learn more or join our upcoming SGTech Global Future Series: Digital Trust Forum at https://bit.ly/digitaltrustforum.  

Published Sep 2022