Forget brand power; data privacy is the defining factor

data_security2Gone are the days when brand was king; consumers say they are now more likely to accept an inferior product if the company which owns it has strong data protection principles.

So says a new IBM privacy study which compared businesses’ data protection practices with consumer opinion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most consumers know their data is being shared, with more than four-fifths claiming they have lost all control over how businesses share their personal information.

And, guess what, consumers are pretty miffed about it too; almost everyone (94%) believes businesses should be doing more to protect the data they gather. Brits would rather have a company with good data practices, than a company with a good product.

In fact, nearly two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed said whether a company shares data with third parties is important when deciding whether or not to do business with them.

How a company protects that data is even more important in this decision, with 53% of consumers saying how well businesses protect their data from a cyber-attack is “extremely important”, while 44% place the same value on quality products and services.

As consumers become savvier and more consumer-friendly solutions are developed to negotiate data exchange, new tools become increasingly important. In particular, the ability to rescind personal data ranks highly as a way for companies to build trust with consumers.

Of those polled, 75% say they would be more willing to share personal information if there was a way to fully take back and retrieve the data at any time, while 68% would be willing to share their personal information if a company could demonstrate that it could monitor how their data was being used.

Interestingly, this feeling extends to third-party data sharing. Three-fifths of consumers surveyed agree that they would be less concerned about sharing data if they knew where the data travelled.

Seven in 10 say they would be very or somewhat likely to share personal data with a third party if there were new methods that allowed for fully taking back and revoking data access at any time, though half are only somewhat likely.

IBM Security Europe chief technology officer Martin Borrett said: “Data privacy and data control have become commodities that consumers value highly, they are now demanding to understand and have control over where their data goes.

“These consumers shouldn’t have to compromise on data integrity for a quality product, or vice versa. Businesses have a real and urgent responsibility to build data protection into their offerings, which is where technology can help.”

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