Looking back, 2018 was a watershed year for data. Privacy, digital assets and cybersecurity all made headlines. The arrival of GDPR. The Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Marriott Starwood Hotels data breach. The news came out almost daily—and data was the central storyline.

At the core of it all: Digital trust. Or lack thereof.

Can people really trust the companies collecting data every day on their movements, purchasing habits, and internet searches?

As defined in a recent CSO article, “Digital trust is the measure of consumer, partner, and employee confidence in an organization’s ability to protect and secure data and the privacy of individuals.” A lack of digital trust in a company can impact everything from customer acquisition to employee retention to future revenue growth.

The good news is that building digital trust represents a huge opportunity for businesses, especially at the dawn of the Internet of Things (IoT) era. Rather than managing data based on fear, companies should embrace consumers’ newfound focus on personal information, harnessing digital trust as a way to build long-term relationships and repeat business.

In a World Economic Forum article from December 2018, Bob Moritz, Global Chairman at PwC shared results from the firm’s latest study titled Digital Trust Insight, offering great advice for executives navigating the nuances of trust in today’s digital economy. To help, the article features three questions today’s business leaders can ask to gauge their performance on digital trust:

1. How well are you enabling people in your organization to help build digital trust?

The article cites that while 91 percent of enterprise-wide digital transformation projects include security and/or privacy personnel as stakeholders, only 53 percent include proactive management of cyber and privacy risks in the project plan and budget from the start. Be proactive! That’s the advice from PWC. Provide employee training. Raise internal awareness. Don’t become a victim of security fatigue.

2. How well are you engaging business processes to build digital trust?

In today’s digital economy, aligning data privacy and security with business objectives makes perfect sense. However, only 23 percent of companies said they were investing in this goal this year, according to PWC. To gain a competitive edge with digital trust, improve the level of reporting and business impact of investments in cyber and privacy risk management.

3. How well are your controls keeping pace with emerging technology?

Being proactive when it comes to digital trust goes beyond business processes. PWC reports, very few companies have digital trust safeguards and controls in place when adopting new technologies. This is especially true for IoT adoption and the use of artificial intelligence. PWC’s key to success: Collaboration among stakeholders and requesting help when needed. Before implementing new technologies be sure to understand the impact on key stakeholders, including customers and partners, and how it may impact digital trust.

To learn more actionable advice for executives, read the full PwC report.