Why trust is a big deal for UK companies

The Technology Strategy Board is working with businesses across the ICT sector to ensure they are developing secure information assurance products.

Trust is one of those important human instincts based on nothing more than a sensation of whether something “feels” right or wrong - there is no reason or justification for how different people feel about different processes or behaviours.

But trust is certainly big business these days. The seemingly daunting challenge of providing confidence and security when doing business, or carrying out personal transactions, in the world of government online services requires innovative thinking. This applies to both users and providers who will need to consider how digital channels and secure technologies can be applied in ways that are convenient and easy to use for everyone involved. With this in mind there is little doubt that a significant business opportunity exists - and will continue to grow - for those companies working to develop the tools, techniques and services that will accelerate the deployment of secure and trustworthy information systems within the UK and beyond.

Just as the internet has grown in value and convenience for law-abiding people, it has increasingly become a fertile hunting ground for new forms of fraud and identity theft. The need for businesses and governments to create trust with customers and users is becoming ever more critical as an increasing number of transactions and interactions take place digitally or remotely – for example, last year a record 6.45 million people filed their tax returns on line to HM Revenue & Customs. Furthermore for governments seeking to protect personal data, procurement teams need to be confident that the right types of technologies are being developed to meet rigorous security standards.

Currently the Technology Strategy Board is working with businesses across the ICT sector to ensure they are developing and offering the information assurance products and services that both the public and the private sector will need to ensure more online security for users. This is part of the government’s digital policy which seeks to ensure the internet and associated technologies and benefits are available across all segments of society – with confidence and protection assured for all users.

We have supported around 30 business-led collaborative projects to develop trusted services which rely on different technologies and their associated supply chains. The ultimate aim is that these projects, which involve more than 50 UK companies, universities and other organisations, will deliver significant improvements over the existing services available. 

Currently the range of projects includes voice recognition software solutions through a personal biometric classifier to provide instant voice recognition; a project that looks at how a standard bank payment card can be adapted to include an integrated keypad and display; and also projects tackling resilience and security issues.  We have supported those companies that we feel will successfully transform or integrate new and existing technology into commercially deployable services that will allow people to operate their digital transactions more securely. In addition we believe that this new trusted services market offers potential for significant wealth creation in the UK.

This was further reflected in last month’s announcement by the government that it plans to invest £10m from the cyber security programme into ID assurance projects where citizens will ultimately be able to electronically provide their details to access a range of government services. This further investment aims to target the increasing risks that UK government, businesses and consumers face when carrying out digital transactions while providing significant market opportunities to build a strong UK capability base.

Within the next five years significantly more products and services will be delivered via electronic systems, and traditional paper-based systems will continue to diminish. The need to create trusted digital spaces that allow businesses, government and consumers to operate with confidence across cyberspace is required now more than ever. Our role is to develop a range of projects that, as well as contributing to the UK’s national security goal, represent sound business and expansion opportunities for UK industry.

Andrew Tyrer is lead specialist, digital services at the Technology Strategy Board. Click here to see To see the complete range of Trusted Services projects being supported by the Technology Strategy Board.

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