We live in an era that historians will define as one of the technological advances so huge, nothing was safe from disruption. Technology has connected us, placed the world at our fingertips, and is changing the way we work, rest and play in ways hitherto unimaginable. Amit Jay Shah, explains further.

With every innovation comes deep unease about its wider purpose and repercussions.

Technology can be frightening, particularly because a full understanding of where it is going and what it means for future generations is only foggily understood by the majority of the population, who must rely on the media for headlines and titbits of (often polemic) information. Cyber attack after cyber attack are also eroding consumer confidence in big business' ability to safely handle their new digital responsibilities.

In this context, those in the know must work tirelessly to win the trust of the consumer. As technology experts and innovators at the forefront of our field, it is our responsibility to prove to the public that our products and systems are safe, and to protect customers from the kinds of breaches and losses of control that they fear.

Mistakes and oversights can see consumers switch off and run scared from new technology, and big breaches only contribution to the creation of general distrust of all things innovation.

Equifax’s recent data hack is a prime example of the kind of headline-grabbing, cyber-crime that threatens the reputation of technological advancement. 694,000 Equifax customers had their data compromised in the UK alone; in the US, the number of people affected has reached a staggering 146 million. Every breach of security quite rightly translates into a breach of trust in the eyes of customers, who have put their data in corporate hands. It is the role of CEO’s and developers to ensure they're creating technology both they and their customers can really trust.

The new GDPR legislation set to come into effect in May next year will force firms to take their customers’ data seriously, and should result in greater digital safety when our information is taken out of our hands and plunged into the vast depths of cyberspace. The legislation will disrupt how businesses approach data security, given the huge financial penalties for any breaches or compliance failures.

But the problem goes further than just online security. There are a whole host of new technologies coming into the mainstream that, just as the internet did when it was launched in 1991, seem too ‘out there’ to be met with success. And with their unfamiliarity comes consumer mistrust: digital tattoos, self-driving lorries and artificial intelligence are certainly up there with the kinds of technologies that are already meeting resistance driven by lack of trust.

If businesses are unable to gain the public's confidence in their ability to keep our data secure, how can we expect these next-generation innovations to be met with approval? The power to define what products and technologies we use and how we use them ultimately lies with the consumer. Trust is the foundation of any good relationship and businesses must wise up to this, making themselves and any tech they build or deploy reliable, durable, and unimpeachable. Only then will consumers be able to put their trust in the hands of the innovators, step away from the scaremongering and invest fully in the incredible opportunities technological advances will bring.

Amit Jay Shah is CEO of HIROLA Group, a digital development agency that produces industry-leading digital products for high profile and ambitious clients. He has many years' experience working in the industry, and is committed to developing tech that his clients and their consumers can depend on.

GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help businesses to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond.

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