Definition

chief trust officer

A chief trust officer in the IT industry is an executive job title given to the person responsible for building confidence around the use of customer information. The responsibilities of the chief trust officer include taking the proper measures to make sure customer information can be trusted and that customers are aware that there are appropriate levels of protection for their information. The chief trust officer typically reports to the CEO.

This role shares the same title with an executive role in the financial services industry. While there are differences between the two roles in terms of specific duties, with the latter being mainly responsible for trust administration and policies, there are some overlaps. These include meeting client service standards, helping build relationships between partners and business executives with clients, and ensuring compliance with regulations regarding customer accounts.

Just like their counterparts in the finance industry, chief trust officers in the IT realm need strong communication and relationship skills to build trust within and outside their organizations. According to Bob West, the chief trust officer of cloud security vendor CipherCloud, these executives spend most of their time being an advocate for the customer, interacting with them and listening to their needs, as well as making sure customers have the support they need to best avail themselves of the company's services. But chief trust officers also oversee the building of trust inside the company and with external partners.

The chief trust officer is an emerging role in the IT space, predominantly seen at cloud service providers such as Box, CipherCloud and Salesforce. The role complements that of the chief compliance officer, whose job entails managing compliance issues and handling internal policies and procedures and the chief privacy officer, whose tasks include fully understanding the legal requirements for a company and maintaining the privacy of customer information.

The ideal candidate to fill the chief trust officer role is someone who has considerable experience in a customer-driven industry, such as finance. This individual should also have a strong understanding of information security and security operations, as well as privacy and compliance issues, so that he or she is able to properly advise the company on how to minimize these risks.

This was last updated in January 2016

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