Dispatches from Davos – Wednesday Afternoon: Reflections on Davos, reflections on Trust

As I look to add some perspective to the amazingly diverse group of delegates gathered here in Davos this week, one word keeps coming to the fore: Trust.

Trust has been a universal topic of discussion in the salons, streets, dinners and parties in and around both sides of the congress center in Davos. As the Unisys Chief Trust Officer, I’ve had CEOs ask me how that title helps, and CISOs ask me how to become one. I tell them one and all that trust is the next evolution of security officer, integrating as much with the business, board and ecosystem of clients and suppliers, as with the CIO, CISO, and Chief Privacy Officer. As one large billboard along the Promenade puts it: Trust is the ultimate currency, with another promising to deliver trust through innovation, and a third proclaiming that Trust is Everything.

Meetings have focused on Trust all week, with speakers such as Microsoft President Brad Smith, the head of the WEF cybersecurity centre Troels Jorgensen, Alan Cohn a Partner at law firm Steptoe & Johnson, Denise Anderson the President of the Health ISAC, and Greg Day the EMEA CISO for Palo Alto Networks, all including trust in their remarks.

See also: Dispatches from Davos – Wednesday Morning: The Night of the living parties at Davos – Our man in Davos, Tom Patterson, chief trust officer at Unisys, has been partying at Davos with the great, famous and indeed the infamous

The Cyber Futurists had a great focus on trust both in concept and reality, discussing it in human and technological terms. Of importance was a panel led by Robert Rodriguez, Chairman & Founder of SINET, which discussed the lack of inherent trust in any individual technology, on how it is used. Examples shared were as diverse as the upcoming 5G communications rollout, to the more futuristic yet highly disruptive quantum general purpose computers. One deep dive on trust came in the form of a panel discussion focused on the US’s National Cyber Moonshot, and the role that trust will play in the successful adoption of a series of critical new technologies around the world, with a focus on educational and behavioral pillars for success.

See also: Dispatches from Davos — Monday afternoon – Cyber attacks were identified as a particular risk to the stability of the world by the WEF Global Risk Report 2019.

The Chief Trust Officer, or CTrO role is still very avant-garde, but judging from the talks here at the WEF, around the town, and the importance these executives are putting on establishing and engendering trust, it is a role that is fast emerging among leading companies around the world.

While trust may be eternal, my time here in Davos is fleeting, so this will be my last dispatch this year.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my accounts of both the serious and fun sides of Davos 2019.

The ‘Davos spirit’ that is talked about is very real, and I urge any interested readers out there to find a way to join a future event if at all possible. I’ll be back next year for sure, so be sure to follow me on Twitter @TomTalks, and perhaps we’ll do these dispatches again. I’ll be at RSA with the Unisys crew in San Francisco next, which has a different, but also very important role to play in the global cyber ecosystem.  Till then…!

Written by Tom Patterson, chief trust officer, Unisys

Related Topics