Transparency isn’t about your business – it’s about your customers

Consumer expectations of transparency and trustworthiness are growing. How can your business make sure it gets it right?

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Our new digitalized business environment relies on trust. We trust our technology, brands, partnerships and more. Many things can help build trust, like our long-term relationship with a brand or the strength of its reputation.

When it comes to tech, when we don’t understand how something works or how it handles our data, we trust less easily. So, when it comes to winning trust, transparency helps – like clear verification and risk mitigation measures.

Do users care about transparency?

In 2021 Kaspersky published its research with over 15,000 adults in 23 countries on their attitudes to online privacy in its report, Consumer appetite versus action: The state of data privacy amid growing digital dependency.

We found most of these consumers expected greater transparency about how their data was handled, with 62 percent saying they worry their online activities are constantly tracked by websites or services they use. A similar proportion (63 percent) said they felt transparency of technologies and companies was necessary for digital transformation.

Do businesses think the same?

Research suggests businesses are increasingly aware that transparency in how they handle customer data matters.

International Data Group (IDC) predicted at the end of 2021 that by 2025, half of the world’s top 2,000 public companies would be employing more diverse data scientists with the intent to improve customer trust. But what about the other half?

Edelman Trust Barometer has studied trust in business, governments, media and other organizations for over 20 years, now with over 36,000 respondents in 28 countries. In 2021, the study found falling levels of public trust in media and government. People felt institutions are not addressing their concerns around job loss, climate change and cybersecurity. The study notes, “We see an even greater expectation of business to lead as trust in government continues to spiral.”

Taking action on trust and transparency

Kaspersky’s Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) is now five years old. We’ve invested many hours and much resource in it because we believe openness and transparency are crucial for cybersecurity.

What does GTI involve? We’ve opened Transparency Centers in several countries and taken a range of actions to be more transparent with our customers, from making our source code available for public review to relocating part of our cyberthreat-related processing infrastructure to Switzerland. Here’s more on how the initiative is evolving. We also have a bug bounty program, generously rewarding security researchers who report a vulnerability in our products.

Building business cyber-resilience through learning

In a digital world, business must be cyber-resilient. Any compromise to IT infrastructure can lead to business loss.

Cyber-resilience means thinking beyond your systems to include business-critical processes and your supply chain. Your business should examine its vendors’ views on software security and integrity.

As part of our GTI, Kaspersky is helping its partners and customers gain the tools and knowledge to protect themselves and choose reliable software. Our Cyber Capacity Building Program, available online and offline, helps businesses, academia and government organizations to learn skills to ensure the security and integrity of integrated third-party applications and identify and manage cybersecurity risks.

We developed GTI as thought leadership – we hope that the rest of our industry will follow suit. But it also protects our biggest asset – our users and their trust.

We want to share our experience, expertise and knowledge with the widest audience possible. Because transparency isn’t about us, it’s about our customers.

Kaspersky’s Global Transparency Initiative

We enable the cybersecurity community and our stakeholders to validate and verify the trustworthiness of our products and operations.

About authors

Evgeniya Naumova is Executive VP of Corporate Business and Deputy CBDO, Commercial at Kaspersky, responsible for business strategy and sales growth within the region. She holds a PhD in economic science and has written many articles in the media about the development of intellectual potential in industrial enterprises.