Security compliance TrustOps Boosting revenue

What is TrustOps and why does it matter for your business?

Looking to build trust with your customers and partners? You already know that protecting customer information and privacy is key, but it's not just about following policies and procedures. 

Enter trust operations, or TrustOps, an intentional, holistic approach to building and maintaining trust through a variety of trust assets, like security certifications. 

Read on to explore what TrustOps is, how it differs from cyber and information security, and why it’s critical for businesses looking to establish and maintain strong relationships with their customers and partners. Let's dive in.

What is TrustOps?

When a company takes steps to protect its customers' information and privacy, it builds trust, an essential component of any business relationship. Customers want to feel confident that their information is being handled responsibly and securely, and they're more likely to do business with companies that they trust.

In addition to building trust with customers, protecting customer information and privacy can also build trust with partners and other stakeholders. Demonstrating that your organization has strong data protection measures in place instills confidence in partners and other organizations whose business interests are tied to your organization. This can be especially important in industries like healthcare, finance, or government, where there are strict regulations and requirements around data privacy and security.

So, what exactly is TrustOps? Simply put, trust operations is a broad set of processes and procedures designed to build and maintain trust with customers and partners. We’ll provide more examples below, but one of the foremost ways companies do this is through obtaining compliance, such as GDPR for those doing business in the EU.

Ensuring GDPR compliance demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding the privacy of your customers' data. To achieve it, you must meet GDPR compliance requirements and be able to demonstrate your compliance. One way to do this is through a privacy framework certification like ISO 27701. Compliance, in this case, requires a number of procedures to be in place to safeguard customer data, all of which work to build trust and protect your customers' rights under GDPR guidelines.   

There are lots of other security frameworks that function in a similar way to build trust with customers and stakeholders. But before we go into more examples of trust operations, let’s clear up how TrustOps relates to concepts like cybersecurity and the other compliance fields it’s often compared to.

TrustOps vs. cybersecurity

Sure, trust operations and cybersecurity may overlap, but they’re not the same thing. As we mentioned earlier, TrustOps is a broad set of procedures for building and maintaining customer trust. 

Cybersecurity, on the other hand, refers specifically to the protection of computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, theft, or damage. Cybersecurity includes measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and encryption. 

While cybersecurity is an important component of TrustOps, it’s not the only component. TrustOps takes into account not only technical measures to protect data, but also organizational culture, transparency, and accountability. 

In other words, you could have a company with strong cybersecurity measures but poor transparency when it comes to how they use or, perhaps, share customer data. 

TrustOps vs. information security

Another specific area compared with trust operations is information security and, although they're related, the scope and objectives of the two differ.

Information security focuses on protecting data, systems, and networks from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. Information security measures include technical and procedural controls such as access controls, encryption, and security awareness training. 

TrustOps involves activities such as transparent communication about data use, data protection, and customer engagement, as well as compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards. 

While both concepts are important for protecting data and maintaining customer trust, information security is primarily concerned with preventing data breaches and cyber attacks, while TrustOps focuses on building and maintaining trust with customers and partners.

TrustOps vs. compliance management

While trust operations and compliance management are both approaches to managing risk in a business, compliance management focuses on ensuring the business meets regulatory compliance. 

Compliance management is the process of ensuring that a business complies with relevant regulations, laws, and industry standards. It involves identifying the applicable laws and regulations that the business needs to comply with, implementing policies and procedures to ensure compliance, and monitoring and reporting on compliance activities. Compliance management helps to ensure that the business operates in a responsible and ethical manner, and reduces the risk of penalties, fines, or legal action.

Compliance management usually consists of a governance, risk, compliance (GRC) program, which focuses on reaching compliance but also on continuously maintaining compliance as regulations change over time.

To paint a better picture of how TrustOps is separate from, yet incorporates, all of these aspects of security, let’s take a look at a few examples based on actual frameworks. 

How security frameworks play into TrustOps — an example

Let’s look at another example of how a security framework can play into trust operations. Take the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, that is basically an amendment of the prior California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA

The CCPA was already considered strict, making the CRPA one of the most extensive measures for consumer protection in the United States, carrying hefty fines for violations. The act revolves around the rights of users and their personal information (touching upon information security), which is a big component of TrustOps. Let’s take a closer look at the specifics:

1. Data retention

The CPRA limits data collection, retention, and use. Businesses are prohibited from retaining personal or sensitive information for purposes other than initially collected or beyond what is reasonably necessary. By limiting the use of personal data to its originally disclosed purpose, businesses show their customers that they respect their privacy rights and protect their personal information from misuse.

2. Protecting sensitive data

Processing sensitive data now comes with new responsibilities under the CPRA. Sensitive data includes information that reveals a person’s geolocation, sexual orientation, race, religion, union membership, health, government ID, finances, genetic information, or communications. This builds trust by demonstrating the importance of protecting customers’ most private information.

3. Deletion requests

Deletion requests must also be communicated to service providers, contractors, and third parties that have received shared information from the business. When businesses accept deletion requests, it shows a willingness to prioritize customers’ privacy rights.

4. Third parties

To comply with the CPRA, businesses must include additional provisions in their contracts with service providers, contractors, and other third parties. This shows that businesses are serious about how data is used at every stage in the data lifecycle.

Need to reach compliance to build trust? Strike Graph can help.

Now that you know more about what trust operations are and how they work, the next most important thing you can do is apply what you’ve learned. To do that, you’ll want to make sure you have a versatile, comprehensive compliance software platform in place — like Strike Graph.

Strike Graph allows you to design, operate, and measure your security program, ensuring you build the trust that’s so essential to growing your business. Quickly assess the risk specific to your business context. Mitigate them with out-of-the box controls. And, easily collect proof your efforts are working with strategic integrations. In the end, you’ll have a library of trust assets ready to share with your stakeholders. Then all you have to do is go sign the big contracts that roll in. 

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