Safety ensures trust
At the time of writing this text, the corona situation in Finland is getting worse and new restrictions are underway. There is also the light-deprived November bringing us down. In addition to the virus, we are fighting apathy and an uncertain future. These times emphasise the importance of strengthening the psychological feelings of safety and trust. Safety creates trust, and trust begets safety. And this emotional state is something we must look after in our society with special vigilance.
When discussing safety, often terms of insecurity abound – threats and risks are underlined. Sure, the threats and risks must be acknowledged, but safety is a positive aspect at heart. Careful contingency planning for threats increases feelings of trust and safety. Studies show that a well-executed contingency and action plan boosts prices on the stock exchange for companies.
Safety is all about a basic need for people and companies. Safety and trust go hand in hand: without trust there cannot be safety, and without safety, trust cannot exist. To summarise – what is the company’s value if it loses its customers’ trust?
Safety is key in technology development, as ensuring safety enables putting technological benefits – such as creating new operational methods and solutions and achieving cost-effectiveness – to good use. Thus, safety is first and foremost an enabler.
The same basic principle also applies to ensuring safety for the most valuable asset of today – data. Once we can rely on having ensured the three principles of data security, we can utilise data in business more confidently.
In connection with providing adequate availability and reliability for data, ensuring data integrity, or data accuracy, seems to gain an increasingly more central role. Integrity refers to data not getting altered or destroyed in an uncontrollable manner. A characteristic of integrity is the fact that restoring it is difficult. It is revealing that in recent estimates in the US, manipulating digital information has been identified as one of the most central threats to national security. It is easy to see for anyone how undesirable it would be for us not to be able to trust that our digitised health records are in the correct format.
We can already estimate that the corona pandemic has accelerated the digital leap by three to four years. This leap was taken in part under compulsion. It is not only a question of a more forceful transition into the digital realm for business operations and other functions – we are also talking about connecting almost everything into the Internet and collecting data on almost anything, at an increasing rate. In this development, safety must not take second place, but it must be fully accounted for in everything we do. If we fail to do this, the risk of losing trust increases. And once trust is lost, it is extremely hard to regain.
CEO, Tosibox Oy; Professor of Cyber Security, Aalto University; member of World Economic Forum expert network.
The author is one of the Theme Partners of the Event.