Trust, Identity and... Elon, is That Really You? A Look Back at Forum21 Europe

When Elon Musk made a guest appearance at Forum21 Europe, many of us were more than a little surprised – but all was not as it seemed. ‘Elon’ was revealed to be Okta’s very own Ian Lowe, in a live demonstration of the deep connection between identity and trust, and why you should never take anything – or anyone – at face value.

It was just one of many thought-provoking presentations at the event, which saw some of the brightest minds in identity and cyber security joined by nearly 1000 virtual attendees for a day of expert insights and Q&As. Hosted by TV presenter David McClelland, topics covered all aspects of trust and the modern organisation, from building customer loyalty to the future of the hybrid workforce.

Exploring how trust drives change

TEDx speaker and trust strategist Philipp Kristian kicked off proceedings with a fascinating exploration of the evolution of trust through time. From the invention of money to the introduction of the horseless carriage, trust shifts have driven every major change in human history. As we reset following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the opportunity to reshape our world in a more frictionless, collaborative and human stance, enabled by technology that serves us, rather than controls us.

Why businesses are creating a new security culture

The critical role of security in driving trust was next up on the agenda. Derek Gordon, Director of Cyber Security at PwC, discussed how digital everywhere is creating a culture change in enterprises and shared an end-to-end framework for delivering digital trust that encompassed three key aspects: managing cyber threats, protecting the value of stored data, and establishing a resistant technology environment.

A focus on trust is impacting how online car marketplace AutoScout24 views security, from both a workforce perspective and when developing products for customers. CISO Markus Hilmes explained how internally, trust is minimising the friction of security on daily operations, which helps ensure compliance. Trust is also being built directly into the company’s product development processes. Teams make use of a secure baseline infrastructure on which they can layer their applications, speeding up the development of useful features that solve its customers’ needs.

Trust is not a feature you can ‘turn on’ – it needs to build over time. Security and data protection are obviously important, but so is usefulness.” - Markus Hilmes, AutoScout24

The challenges of securing hybrid IT environments

Trust begins with security, but protecting data in a hybrid environment of cloud and on-prem apps brings unique challenges. Okta’s Joshua Kroeze explored three ways businesses can optimise for the future, by enabling dynamic work, consolidating IT and creating customer-centric experiences.

Liz Cocker, Identity Service Manager at ITV, shared how the company took a ‘big bang’ approach to implementing identity across the organisation, integrating all its on-prem and cloud-based apps from day one. Historically, the company had multiple identity siloes, creating security risks and delays in setting up new users. With Okta at the centre, errors were a thing of the past.

How to establish trust in the workplace

As we increasingly expect to be able to work where, how and when we want, how can businesses and employees establish mutual trust? Angela Salmeron of IDC discussed how parity of experience is essential in the hybrid workforce. Organisations won’t succeed unless they put their people first, with seamless digital experiences becoming make-or-break for retaining employees.

What drives customer loyalty in the digital era

Trust is key to creating high-value, returning customers, and our final sessions focused on strategies for building it. With our current methods of establishing trust being almost entirely digital, the resilience of digital platforms has become crucial. Reflecting on the volatility of the past 18 months, Duncan Brown of IDC suggested that organisations plan for future digital resilience, establishing trust with customers by focusing on security, privacy, compliance and social responsibility.

To catch up with all the action from the day, watch the full recordings here.