With stories of hacks and data leaks constantly hitting the headlines – Ashley Madison being the latest high profile hack – you can’t blame consumers for feeling sceptical about an organisation’s ability to protect their personal data. Consumers are becoming more informed on data security and this is leading to a complete lack of confidence where maintaining the integrity of their personal data is concerned.
But which industries do people have most concerns over? And, which are perceived to be on top of protecting the customer data they have on their databases?
We conducted the Unisys Security Insights research to measure the public’s concerns in 12 countries on personal data security across industries such as banking, government, airlines, healthcare, telecoms, retail and utilities. The results varied from country to country but we believe the statistics point to some industries requiring confidence-building initiatives to win the trust of their consumers.
Out of character with previous global surveys, consumers in the Netherlands and Germany have the highest level of concern regarding personal data security. Interestingly – and despite recent instances of personal data breaches at high profile organisations – the perceived threat amongst consumers in U.S. and U.K. is lowest. We also asked the public which industry they believed was most likely to suffer a data breach over the next 12 months.
The perceived vulnerability among consumers regarding data security was highest for telecoms companies (59 percent) and our findings preceded the news that, in the UK, 2.4m customer records were stolen by hackers from Carphone Warehouse in July. The threat was also of serious concern where government agencies and banks are concerned (49 and 48 percent respectively) and of least concern for airlines and transportation companies’ with just 34 percent of global respondents believing these organisations would suffer a breach in the next year. Retailers, utilities companies and healthcare organisations came in a middle tier of global concern.
Our findings point to real consumer uncertainty over how their personal data is protected. To prevent reputational damage and inspire customer confidence, organisations must review and enhance existing security measures on a continuous basis to shield against the latest cyber and physical threats, gain visibility into potential weaknesses that hackers might exploit and ensure business objectives can be met within the organisation’s security, compliance and governance framework.
The question is, can organisations afford the alternative (it’s reported that Ashley Madison’s parent company is facing a $760m class action lawsuit from one disgruntled customer) when faced by an array of increasingly complex, advanced and persistent threats?
To see the full run down of results for each country and each industry click through to the Unisys Security Insights microsite.