The Trust Quotient; Security and Safety in Businesses


Do you remember when sometime in 2014 the Boston Globe reported of an Uber driver having kidnapped and raped a passenger? Well, time may have passed and things changed but that forms the basis of our writing today! Trust, Safety and Security in the Business.

As connectivity increases, productivity increases and unfortunately, so is risk. With most people getting excited to access new services from their PCs and mobile devices, the only reason such services continue to exist is because customers trust them. Once trust is broken, the brand is irreparably harmed and customers will leave.

Creating a trust and safety team, even if it consists of a small group of part-time employees, can pay dividends in brand equity and is absolutely critical when putting up a service especially online. Successful businesses invest in trust and safety teams to protect their users, their brand, and their bottom line from malicious users, and while trust and safety, risk, fraud, and application security have some things in common, there’s a key difference. Risk, fraud, and application security teams protect against attacks on the business whereas trust and safety team protects against attacks on the user.

Trust and safety versus security: what’s the difference?

Unlike the application security team, the trust and safety team doesn’t worry about threats like SQL injection attacks or cross-site-scripting bugs. The trust and safety team worries about protecting user data to prevent compromised accounts and fraudulent transactions. They also worry about policy enforcement, including stopping spam, scams, harassment, and fake accounts. These malicious tactics often can’t be detected by your Web application firewall (WAF), which detects bugs in your application or massive bot activity.

Trust and safety teams have different metrics, too. As they’re protecting the customers of the business, they work closely with customer support teams to resolve issues at scale. These metrics include how many incidents are solved reactively, such as when users write in to complain, compared with proactively, before they are noticed by users. Trust and safety teams also need to keep track of how long it takes for an incident to be resolved, and what percentage of users are affected by false positives.

Trust and safety is cross-functional

Trust and safety teams are cross-functional groups comprised of analysts, customer success representatives, policy managers, product managers, designers, data scientists and software engineers. Most trust and safety teams start out reactively: a customer complains about a bad product experience and the team does their best to fix the issue after it happens. Soon, the team begins proactively reviewing high-risk behavior, like posting public content, making a purchase from a risky country, or making a critical settings change.

The problem with manual review is that it is expensive and slow. Even when companies choose to offshore their manual review to save money, the accuracy of the reviews becomes difficult to maintain. The solution is to introduce automation in the form of rules and machine learning models to mark certain behavior as clearly good, some behavior as clearly bad, and reduce the “gray area” that needs to be manually reviewed to a manageable amount. While this requires specialized expertise and infrastructure, it often pays for itself quickly in saved manual review time.

  • Safety is putting measures into place that prevent user abuse, hold members accountable and provide assistance when a crisis occurs.
  • Trust, a bit more nuanced in how it’s created, is creating the explicit and implicit contracts between the company, customers and employees.
  • Security protects the company, customers and employees from breach: digital or physical all while abiding by local, national and international law.

CIO East Africa has, in the spirit of ensuring Security, Safety and Trust to businesses, prepared a high end personnel in-depth talk, during the  CIO 100 Annual Symposium and Award at the Enashipai Resort in Naivasha on the 29th and 30th November 2018.  On board the team to explore the trust quotient and equation even as enterprises get the leverage on how to trade with this rare gem; Trust and avoid  worst case scenarios just like the Uber driver afore mentioned. This is precisely the kind of scenario that anyone thinking about Trust, Safety and Security issues wants to avoid.

Click here to register and attend the upcoming CIO 100 Annual Symposium and Award


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