Security compliance TrustOps

What is a chief trust officer (CTrO)

Trust is an important part of any business. In fact, recent reports have found that it’s essential:

  • Trustworthy companies outperform their competitors by up to 400%.(Deloitte)
  • Customers who highly trust a brand are 88% more likely to buy again. (Deloitte)
  • 71% of consumers are unlikely to buy again if a company loses their trust. (PwC)

Because consumer trust in a company can be such a huge market differentiator — and because there usually aren’t clear lines of accountability or ownership when it comes to consumer trust — many businesses are beginning to hire Chief Trust Officers, or CTrOs, to lead their TrustOps teams.

A newer addition to the C-Suite, the Chief Trust Officer is the person responsible for ensuring the brand can be trusted by building confidence around the use of customer information. The CTrO ensures the integrity of the company and that customers can trust the organization to make decisions with ethical intent. 

This is achieved by taking proper measures to not only ensure customer information is secure, but that customers know the appropriate levels of protection the organization is implementing in order to safeguard their information.

Why do companies need a CTrO?

As security threats and attacks become more and more common in the digital world — and more and more publicized — customers have begun to demand that their data be protected from avoidable breaches. While the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) helps protect customer data from disclosure, the CTrO helps ensure customers can actually trust organizations when they say their data is being protected. But how do they do that?

Chief Trust Officer responsibilities

A CTrO’s main duties are to help manage the risks of operating a business at scale and to ensure the brand can be trusted. Their general responsibilities can be broken down into two main buckets: risk, compliance, and privacy and brand and communication.

Risk, compliance, and privacy

Alongside the Chief Risk Officer (CRO), the CTrO helps understand business risks and how decisions regarding these risks are made. However, the CTrO does so from a perspective of consumer trust. In other words: what are the implications these risks pertaining to personally identifiable information (PII), for example, will have on consumer trust?

The CTrO works closely with the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) to ensure continued compliance with industry standards — as well as local, state, and federal regulations — by managing internal policies and procedures. Staying in compliance means a company earns trust assets — like certifications — that boost brand trust and thus revenue. 

Last but not least, the CTrO works alongside the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) to understand the company’s legal requirements, manage the risks that impinge upon privacy laws and regulations, and maintain the privacy of customer information.

Essentially, the CTrO comes at the core issues of risk, compliance, and privacy through the lens of consumer and brand trust, which brings us to our next point.

Brand and communication

Because one of the CTrO’s core functions is to be an advocate for the customer, communication is key. Not only does the CTrO need to be in touch with customers, they need to consistently interact with them and make sure they have the support they need. Transparency is key here, as it can provide customers with a better understanding of how their critical data and workflows are being protected.

Communication goes hand-in-hand with brand management, as the better the communication is, the more trust is created, and the more favorably the brand is perceived. Many CTrO’s will work closely with the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to provide trust assets, such as certifications and security reports. These assets reassure customers they can trust the company to protect their data and to only work with reputable partners that also maintain the highest levels of security and trust. 

Why are trust assets and transparent reporting important?

It’s a common misconception that trust can’t be defined and measured, but that’s simply not the case. When properly defined, trust can be proactively managed and regularly measured. Many organizations use Deloitte’s The Four Factors of Trust framework — the factors being humanity, transparency, reliability, and capability — to allow them to define trust based on competence and intent.

Image credit: Deloitte

Furthermore, trust assets, like security certifications, can help CTrOs provide the tangible proof many customers look for when assessing the reliability of a company. Those certifications — along with transparent, easily-understood reporting —  help CTrOs communicate trustworthiness to both customers and stakeholders alike.

How Strike Graph makes the CTrO’s life easier

Ultimately, trust is fragile — hard to earn and easy to lose. Don’t let data breaches cost you the trust of your customers. Take a proactive approach by ensuring customer trust is a priority and integrated in your processes from the start.

Strike Graph’s all-in-one platform lets you design and operate a robust security program that centers trust. And, our trust asset library means you’ll always have the tools you need to prove your trustworthiness at your fingertips.

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