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Digital Trust: security and privacy concerns in Emerging Markets

A laptop and 2 people pointing on the screen.

By prioritizing digital trust, businesses can foster a trustworthy online presence and unlock opportunities in today's interconnected world.

In this article, we explore the significance of digital trust for businesses, particularly in emerging markets.

As technology continues to shape our daily lives, it becomes crucial to understand the level of confidence and reliability we place in the secure handling of our digital information and transactions.

Learn why digital trust matters, its impact on customer loyalty and reputation, and the actionable steps you can take to build and maintain trust in the digital realm.


What is digital trust?

Digital trust refers to the level of confidence or reliance placed on the ability of individuals, organizations, and systems to securely handle, manage and protect digital information and transactions.

Digital trust is the assurance that the data and information being shared over digital channels are authentic, secure, and private. Digital trust is essential for the adoption and success of digital technologies as it helps to build confidence among users and stakeholders that their data and information are safe from unauthorized access, misuse, and manipulation.

In a digital age, where more transactions and interactions are occurring over digital channels, Digital trust is becoming increasingly important.

Why does digital trust matter for your business?

Why should businesses care about Digital trust? Well, for one, it is critical for any business that operates in the digital realm, as it directly affects the level of trust that customers and partners have in the organization: a high level of digital trust can lead to increased customer loyalty, higher sales, and greater business opportunities.

On the other hand, a lack of digital trust can lead to negative consequences such as loss of revenue, decreased customer satisfaction, and reputational damage.

In today's highly connected and data-driven world, customers and partners expect businesses to safeguard their personal information and protect their digital identities. They want to be confident that their interactions with the organization will be secure and that their data will be handled responsibly. Building and maintaining digital trust is therefore critical to establish a strong and sustainable relationship with customers and partners.

Moreover, digital trust also plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations and laws. Organizations that are able to demonstrate their commitment to digital trust are more likely to comply with these regulations and avoid fines and legal consequences.

What are the main security and privacy concerns for Emerging Markets?

Emerging markets face a range of security and privacy concerns as they adopt new technologies and digitize their economies. Some of the main concerns include:

Cybercrime: As digital adoption increases, cybercrime becomes a bigger threat. Emerging markets often lack the resources to combat cybercrime effectively, making them more vulnerable to attacks.

Data privacy: Many emerging markets have weak data protection laws and limited enforcement capabilities, leaving individuals’ personal data vulnerable to misuse.

Lack of awareness and education: In many emerging markets, there is a lack of awareness and education around digital security and privacy best practices, making individuals and businesses more vulnerable to cyber threats.

Infrastructure: Some emerging markets lack the infrastructure necessary to support secure digital transactions and communications.

Chart of the consequences of a Lack of Digital Trust.

What actions can be taken to address the risks?

There are several actions that can be taken to address the security and privacy risks in emerging markets, including:

Strengthening cybersecurity policies: Governments and organizations in emerging markets should develop strong cybersecurity policies to address the risks and vulnerabilities in the digital landscape. This includes policies that cover data protection, encryption, incident response, and more.

Investing in technology: Emerging markets should invest in cybersecurity technologies to prevent cyber-attacks and data breaches. This includes technologies such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems.

Educating users: Users in emerging markets should be educated on how to stay safe online and how to protect their personal and sensitive data. This can include training on password management, email phishing, and other cybersecurity best practices.

Building partnerships: Governments and organizations in emerging markets should work together to share information and best practices on cybersecurity. This can help to build a stronger cybersecurity community and improve overall security in the region.

Supporting international standards: Emerging markets should support and adhere to international cybersecurity standards to ensure that they are on par with other countries in terms of security and privacy. This can include standards such as ISO/IEC 27001, NIST, and others.

Chart of the digital trust-related Benefits.

3 questions with…

Picture of Dooshima Dapo-Oyewole

Dooshima Dapo-Oyewole

Business Relationship Manager: Digital Transformation, Digital Skills, and Digital Trust

Expert in: Security Awareness, Project Management, and Communications with a decade of experience in Digital Marketing, Financial Services, and Consulting.

She says of herself: “I am a firm believer in ensuring that the value of technology is safely realized by all key stakeholders who engage with it. ”

Q: Is digital trust a theme in Emerging Markets' digitization process and how is it dealt with?

Digital Trust is a critical and developing theme in the digitization process of emerging markets. According to ISACA’s 2023 State of Digital Trust Report, respondents from Africa (42 percent) were more familiar with the term digital trust than those from Europe (35 percent), Asia (32 percent), and North America (31 percent).

While there is yet to be a uniform approach for dealing with implementation, measurement, and understanding of the benefits of digital trust various regulators and leading captains of industry are aligning with global best practices to ensure that interactions with technology are reliable and trustworthy.

Q: Is enough effort made in the cooperation by public and/or private organizations to address the concerns and strengthen digital trust?

Each region faces its own unique set of obstacles to attaining digital trust, while there has been some effort to address the concerns and strengthen digital trust much more still needs to be done.

ISACA’s 2023 State of Digital Trust report highlights the following categories of challenges with the highest incidence in Africa and Oceania, lack of skilled workforce and training, lack of leadership buy-in, lack of alignment with enterprise goals and priorities, and lack of budget to implement standards.

Increased coordination and collaboration amongst stakeholders will improve the implementation of digital trust methods effectively.

Q: Is there anything that could be done differently to address the concerns and speed up the adoption of technologies?

Building digital trust involves more than just ticking a box on a checklist. There is a need to also embrace the insights and empathy needed to address the important human, cultural contexts, historical and experiential factors that enable trust and adoption of technologies.

To address the concerns and speed up the adoption of technologies in emerging markets, several approaches could be considered, such as: tailoring digital solutions to local contexts and needs and increasing efforts to enable digital literacy. Low levels of digital literacy in developing markets lead to confusion, mistrust, and exploitation which affect the adoption of technologies.

If people understand how to use technology solutions and protect themselves and their communities online, this would greatly address concerns regarding the adoption of various technologies.


In conclusion, digital trust is crucial for businesses operating in emerging markets. With the increasing adoption of technology and digitization, the risks associated with security and privacy are also growing.

To mitigate these risks, it is important to take proactive measures such as implementing strong data protection policies, conducting regular security audits, and building cybersecurity capacity through training and education. Additionally, collaboration between the public and private sectors can help foster a culture of digital trust and facilitate the exchange of best practices.

By addressing the security and privacy concerns, businesses can establish trust with their customers and stakeholders, and enable a more sustainable and inclusive digital future in emerging markets.


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