Brands warned to tighten data security or face exodus

data_newbieMost UK consumers claim they will walk away from businesses that fail to look after their personal data, with over two-thirds (70%) saying they would ditch a brand that suffers a breach of financial or personal information.
According to a survey of 10,500 consumers by digital firm Gemalto, retailers are most at risk, with 62% of respondents no longer willing to shop with them after a data breach, followed by banks (59%) and social media sites (58%).
With the rising awareness of data protection and data privacy issues following the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and a growing number of personal data breaches, consumers firmly believe the responsibility for protecting their data rests with the company holding it.
As a result, data protection is now a major consideration for consumers when interacting with a brand, with 82% wanting organisations to have greater online security measures and 91% believing that there are applications and websites they currently use that pose a risk to the protection and security of their personally identifiable information.
Social media sites worry consumers most, with two-thirds (61%) concerned that these companies do not protect consumer data adequately, followed by banking websites (40%).
Despite consumers placing the responsibility firmly in the hands of organisations, only a quarter feel that companies take the protection and security of customer data very seriously, with 35% saying they have already provided organisations with feedback on the security methods they are offering.
“Businesses have no choice but to improve their security if they want to address frustrated consumers that don’t believe the onus is on them to change their security habits,” said Jason Hart, CTO, data protection at Gemalto. “Social media sites, in particular, have a battle on their hands to restore faith in their security and show consumers they are listening. Failing to do so will spell disaster for the most flagrant offenders, as consumers take their business elsewhere.”
The survey showed that consumers are frustrated with the state of data protection within organisations, with a quarter of those polled saying they had already been a victim of fraudulent use of their financial information, 19% through fraudulent use of their PII and 16% through identity theft, while 66% are worried that their personal information will be stolen at some point in the future.
However, despite the fear that they may become victims of a data breach, consumers are not planning to change their behaviour online because they believe responsibility lies with the companies holding their data.
“This should be a wake-up call to businesses that consumer patience has run out,” said Hart. “It’s clear they have little faith that organisations are taking their data protection seriously, or that their concerns will be heard, forcing them to take action themselves.
“Businesses must start doing the basics properly – protecting their most valuable asset, data, with the correct security controls.”

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