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article imageConsumers 'keenly aware' of data breaches, will boycott services

By James Walker     Feb 9, 2018 in Technology
Almost 70% of consumers would refuse to use a company with poor data protection standards, according to new research. Inadequate data protection could severely impact a company's reputation. 55% of consumers would avoid firms with historical incidents.
RSA Security published a report on the impact of poor data protection practices for companies handling personal information. As covered by ITProPortal, the statistics revealed will be of concern to firms who've previously experienced a data-related incident. Consumers are extremely sceptical of the ability of companies to protect their data, so a sound strategy is crucial for success.
69 percent of survey respondents said they would boycott a company known to lack adequate data protection. 55 percent said they would avoid providing their details to a firm that has previously sold or misused its information. Consumers are primarily concerned about the risk of third-party data theft, worrying that hackers could obtain the information and steal their money or identity.
The survey also uncovered a general unwillingness to supply data when registering for new services and products. 41 percent of consumers admitted to using falsified data when creating new accounts. People avoid submitting their real details unless they're convinced by a company's reputation, indicating that headline-making breaches have boosted consumer awareness of data sharing risks.
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This has serious implications for firms that need to obtain data from their customers. The findings demonstrate there are clear business benefits for companies that can develop and maintain responsible data protection practices. However, consumer perception of the digital industry is being impacted by the failings of firms which do fall victim to breaches. Those companies are likely to face business consequences from data protection regulators and consumers alike.
"Consumers are keenly aware of recent high profile breaches, and are therefore demanding much more from the companies that handle their data," ITProPortal reports Rashmi Knowles, Field CTO of the EMEA region at RSA Security, said. "The business impact of not ensuring appropriate levels of security will reach far beyond fines for compromising customer data. The financial and reputational damage of a data breach in 2018 could be devastating."
Incoming regulations such as GDPR might help convince consumers that firms are able to protect their data. Nonetheless, it's clear that public scepticism of online services is growing as people create new accounts. Firms need to be able to demonstrate they have adequate data protection systems, which might include usage of new security technologies and proactive maintenance to detect intrusions before they become established.
More about data breaches, Data protection, Online services, Cybersecurity
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