The majority (76 per cent) of Malaysian consumers do not trust digital services, according to new findings from Microsoft and IDC.
The results highlight the strong need to build trust across the region with, with 24 per cent of Malaysian consumers believing their personal data will be treated in a trustworthy manner by organisations offering digital services.
"The upside for organisations with a trusted digital platform is tremendous as Malaysia is a digitally active market, where almost all of the transactions and interactions here would be digital in the near future,” said Dr Jasmine Begum, director of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft Malaysia.
"However, despite consumers’ increasing reliance on digital services, there is still a considerable trust gap that needs to be addressed. Most consumers still do not perceive organisations to be trusted data stewards.
"I urge business leaders to do more to understand what drives consumer trust and focus on how they can build trust and make it a key competitive advantage for their digital services."
In Malaysia, almost all transactions and interactions that happen today are becoming digital. At the same time, consumers are becoming more aware of the cyber security risks and the risks to the privacy of their personal data.
Furthermore, consumers realise that the risk to data comes not just from cyber criminals but also from the organisations holding on to their personal data.
"As our digital economy continues to grow manifold, it has also opened various risks,” said Dato’ Ts. Dr. Haji Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia. “Data privacy remains a key concern with both consumers and businesses being at risk of data breach.
“As cyber security specialists, we are grateful for the efforts taken by Microsoft in spreading awareness on the importance of data security and we hope our efforts in creating a safer cyberspace for Malaysia will continue to align."
The study surveyed 453 consumers in Malaysia, and asked respondents to provide opinions on the five elements of trust jointly defined by IDC and Microsoft, namely - privacy, security, reliability, ethics, and compliance - when using digital services. Findings revealed that consumers feel that all five elements of trust are almost equally important to them.
Specifically, privacy (92 per cent), security (91 per cent) and reliability (88 per cent) emerged as the top three most important elements. Consumers also have the highest expectations of trust from financial services institutions, followed by education institutions and healthcare organisations.
“Trust is critical for organisations to succeed in this digital world as consumers overwhelmingly prefer to transact with organisations with a trusted digital platform,” said Simon Piff, vice president of security at IDC Asia Pacific.
"As competition between digital services becomes more intense and global in nature, advocacy through word of mouth can be a strong differentiator for the organisation and a shot in the arm for the brand."
Microsoft considers these five elements of trust central to building trust in digital services with consumers, which enterprises have a responsibility to deliver.
However, the responsibility of building trust should not just be on the shoulders of these organisations providing digital services, according to Microsoft, but also the broader industry, including government institutions and technology companies.
The study showed that consumers in Malaysia feel that the government (41 per cent) should take the lead in building trust, followed by technology companies (27 per cent) and communities (19 per cent), indicating the need for a stronger partnership between governments, technology companies and other stakeholders.
When it comes to fostering trust in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, consumers feel that the government (44 per cent) and technology companies (29 per cent) should take the lead in ensuring AI is used in a trusted manner.
“To establish a trusted framework for the development and usage of AI and technology in general, we must first consider its impact on individuals, businesses and society,” Dr Begum said. "This would require a broader debate that involves the appropriate stakeholders, including the government and technology companies.”
“These dialogues would need to be backed by actions, including forging closer partnerships and facilitating greater knowledge exchange. These are all necessary steps that will enable us to collectively establish a well-balanced, holistic baseline for trust for the entire industry."