In a virtual world where everyone is a target, how can companies build trust with consumers?
Today’s consumer is confronted by a myriad of different online commerce opportunities, choices and decisions. Based on a research study done by PayPal, Malaysia’s e-commerce market is expected to grow to RM5bil this year, fuelled by the increasing popularity of online shopping and higher Internet penetration rate.
Compared to other Asian countries with higher population, the transaction per capita in Malaysia is relatively higher. In short, e-commerce is definitely here to stay.
As business can be conducted 24/7 across continents and time zones, the smart brick-and-mortar players will recognise the inevitable rise of online shopping and adapt to new realities.
E-commerce is critical to the development of the Malaysian economy, especially for creating employment opportunities in manufacturing, transport, retail, telecommunications and tourism.
However, security remains one of the biggest issues for online commerce.
Fear of fraud
In the old world of brick and mortar, businesses required human interaction — from order taking to fulfilling delivery — in order to work.
Online businesses are now completed with a mere click of the mouse button or tap of the screen, without needing paperwork or interaction with anyone.
Obviously, the question of trust must be addressed in order for online business to thrive. Some consumers fear making online transactions because of the potential for financial and identity theft. Even avid buyers will not take the risk of buying from an unknown website.
Last year, fraud was the highest reported cybercrime in Malaysia. Out of 10,636 incidents reported to Cyber999 — CyberSecurity’s help centre — 4,485 incidents were classified as fraud.
The incidents reported include unauthorised use of credit cards, fraudulent e-business merchants, phishing sites, identity theft and attacks on e-commerce websites.
Affected businesses not only suffer significant monetary losses but their reputation will also be harmed. The question most Malaysian companies have to ask is how can they add a layer of security to their site, making it more trustable.
They can look at Trustmark, an initiative by CyberSecurity to ensure there is confidence and trust in our e-commerce system.
The aim is to assure consumers that the e-commerce website bearing the Trustmark certification has been validated and found to be safe. A certification by a third-party ensures that the business is credible — validated websites will have to display the Trustmark logo on the upper right corner.
This gives consumers confidence that the website with Trustmark certification will offer reliable and trusted services, as advertised.
CyberSecurity was just elected as chair of WTA (World Trustmark Alliance). WTA is a global organisation of Trustmark operators that governs the global e-commerce behaviour and practices, and currently comprises 37 members from 30 countries.
To date, CyberSecurity has received 43 applications from private sector — of the 12 that were accepted for evaluation for the Malaysia Trustmark for Private Sector, only eight made it to the auditing process. Of the eight, only six were successfully certified.
Last year, the organisation processed 49 cases of which eight websites were successfully certified.
It hopes that the Trustmark certification will help builds trust in the Malaysia e-commerce market and promote good practices in cross-border transaction.
The use of the logo is particularly important for SMEs if their brand is not well known. The certification will strengthen consumer confidence so that they can enjoy the convenience of online shopping without having to worry.
Still, the awareness for the value and benefit of Trustmark among businesses and consumers is not as widespread as it should be. To address this CyberSecurity will be embarking on a nationwide roadshow to encourage local companies and those already engaged in e-businesses to apply for certification.
We hope to achieve a 10% increase in certification in the next 12 months. Applying for Malaysia Trustmark certification is simple — companies can make their application at mtms.cybersecurity.my.
On a final note, I urge companies that are engaged in e-commerce to apply for the certification. It will be a significant step towards enhancing their business and profitability both locally and globally.
(Security Bites is a monthly column on The Star Online/Tech by Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, the chief executive officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia, the national body that watches the borders of our virtual world.)