Here is a small snapshot of how digital trust in a digitalizing Asia impacts not only e-commerce but also employer-employee relationships.

As the world plunges into an accelerated digitalization drive to stay afloat in a pandemic-rattled global economy, trust has become an important factor.

Data protection, privacy rights and cybersecurity concerns revolve around digital trust. Employees working remotely are also granted trust to remain productive. Conversely, distributed workforces place trust in their employers to keep the hybrid working arrangements safe.

To find out more about how the various facets of trust are changing in the new normal, an identity and access management firm conducted a State of Digital Trust study of more than 1,700 office workers across Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Here are some of the findings for Asia:

  • 10% of all Asian respondents said they did not trust any digital channels to safely handle their data. This contrasts with 19% of Americans, the most untrusting group according to the same survey, which was also conducted in the US, Europe and Australia.  
  • 71% of Asian respondents shared that they had become more cautious about providing personal information online amid the pandemic—almost double the global average (41%). 
  • 22% of Asian respondents felt they were most at risk from identity theft, while18% felt the same way about data breaches; 16% felt so for password theft.  
  • 50% of Asian respondents had lost faith in a company due to a data breach or security event. 
  • 58% of Asian respondents said they would be unlikely to purchase from a firm they did not trust.
  • 45% of Asian respondents listed data breaches as the factor that will most strongly deter them from purchasing goods and services online, followed by:
    • Images that misrepresent products (39%)
    • Websites with questionable legitimacy (38%)
    • Websites that request too much personal information (38%)
  • 38% of Asian respondents said they had permanently stopped using a company’s services and deleted the app following a breach.
  • Asian respondents were wary of:
    • Phishing emails (59%)
    • Data breaches (59%)
    • AI-generated “deepfakes” used to spread false information (58%)

To maintain employee efficiency and protect corporate data in a remote-working environment, businesses are trusted to educate staff on security best practices, and update legacy technologies that may be vulnerable to online threats.

  • Businesses need to proactively communicate to customers how cyber-defenses are being tightened, thereby building trust. Increasingly wary consumers need to feel safer through being offered better account profile and credential management without compromising their digital experience.

Commented the firm’s General Manager (Asia Pacific), Graham Sowden: “The Asia Pacific region far outpaced the rest of the world in online sales growth last year. This high demand, coupled with intense competition, has made brand trust a potential make-or-break for businesses looking to grow and retain an online customer base. Customers are increasingly wary of online threats, and digital-first businesses have no option but to equip themselves with the right policies and technologies to drive trust, loyalty and success.”

Most importantly, Sowden noted, digital transformation opens new channels for customer and employee engagement—so the attack surface expands in parallel: businesses must define the trust parameters by which employees, partners and customers access sensitive data and systems to maintain trust.