Verify, then trust: cynical or sensible?

Ladanna James
By
Ladanna James
Head of Marketing & Business Development
Verify, then trust: cynical or sensible?

Verify, then trust. Sounds a bit cynical, doesn’t it? Some might argue that the world needs less suspicion and more trust. And, they would be right. Trust underpins every kind of successful interpersonal relationship you can think of— family, friends, colleagues. Still, those who see verify, then trust as cynical would likely agree that trust must be earned and blind trust is probably unwise. 

The fact is, we often verify, then trust when it comes to virtually everything in our daily lives. We do it when we:  

  • Read online reviews before watching a certain movie, buying a particular book, or eating at a new restaurant.
  • Google the name of a person you intend to meet for the first time.
  • Double-check the email sender before clicking a link.
  • Do a thorough check-up of the car before going on that long-overdue family road trip.
  • Consult the weather app or channel before deciding what to wear outdoors.

And the list goes on.

Aligning with the right stakeholders

Verification is about doing our due diligence; being sure we have all the information we need before making certain decisions. Failure to do so can result in unwanted consequences. At best, we might be a little underdressed for the frigid weather if we don’t first verify the weather report; at worst, our car could break down in the middle of nowhere, ruining that long-anticipated family road trip.

Verifying first is even more critical in business. In sectors that have a fiduciary responsibility to clients and access to large volumes of sensitive customer information verifying before trusting is fundamental. That means doing enhanced due diligence on all types of business relationships: customer, vendor, business partners, employees, consultants, contractors, the list goes on.

Mitigating reputation risk 

Reputation risk can pose material damage to an organization’s bottom line and tends to be inextricably linked to a range of other strategic risks. In financial services, for example, regulators expect reputation risk to be part of an organization’s strategic risk agenda. 

According to the World Economic Forum, on average, more than 25% of a company’s market value is directly attributable to its reputation.

Despite all this, and taking in account how much of our lives are lived online these days, many organizations still employ an ad hoc approach when it comes to using publicly available open source online intelligence (OSINT) to vet and monitor the behaviours of existing and potential business stakeholders.

The news cycle is awash with stories of well established organizations caught off guard by unacceptable behaviour from their stakeholders. We live in a world where the wrong business associations can destabilize your brand, sink your stock prices, erode shareholder value and make you non-compliant with regulatory bodies.

Better, more confident decision-making

Valital is driven by a need to help businesses avoid unnecessary risk to their brand and reputation, believing that is an engine of growth and underpins an organization’s success. 

Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), a form of AI that enables computers to extract language from unstructured text, Valital’s AI uses content and context to perform real-time search and pulse analysis of online media, blogs and tweets to flag a range of misconducts. 

Risk, ethics, compliance and security professionals can then use the information to help them make better, more confident business relationship decisions. 

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