Customers fear data breaches but aren’t protecting themselves enough

28 Nov 2017

Online shoppers are concerned about data breaches. Image: shutter_o/Shutterstock

A new survey shows that the majority of customers think the business holding their data is mostly responsible for its security.

A new survey of more than 10,000 customers carried out on behalf of security firm Gemalto found that although people are concerned about businesses keeping their data safe, many are not doing enough on an individual level to keep their information secure.

According to the survey, seven out of 10 customers (69pc) believe that businesses don’t take customer data protection seriously, and 70pc of those surveyed said they would stop doing business with a company if it experienced a data breach.

Customers fear a data breach

Despite these concerns, the survey also found that consumers are not doing nearly enough on an individual level to protect their information, with more than half (56pc) still using the same password for multiple online accounts. Even when a relatively simple security solution such as two-factor authentication presents itself, 41pc of customers don’t use it, leaving them vulnerable to breaches.

These customer attitudes are resulting in businesses being forced to take additional measures to inform customers about the benefits of robust security measures. Retailers (61pc), banks (59pc) and social media sites (58pc) were found to have work to do, with these being the sectors consumers would leave if a breach occurred.

CTO of identity and data protection at Gemalto, Jason Hart, said: “Consumers are evidently happy to relinquish the responsibility of protecting their data to a business but are expecting it to be kept secure without any effort on their part.”

GDPR a major factor

He added that GDPR is putting extra strain on businesses to ensure customers avail of security measures. “In the face of upcoming data regulations such as GDPR, it’s now up to businesses to ensure they are forcing security protocols on their customers to keep data secure. It’s no longer enough to offer these solutions as an option.

“These protocols must be mandatory from the start, otherwise businesses will face not only financial consequences, but also potentially legal action from consumers.”

93pc of customers would take or consider taking legal action against a business if their information was stolen in a data breach.

Hart explained that although businesses do have a duty of care when it comes to customer data, individuals need to step up to the plate. “It’s astonishing that consumers are now putting their own data at risk by failing to use these measures, despite growing concerns around their security. It’s resulting in an alarming amount of breaches – 80pc – being caused by weak or previously stolen credentials.”

Hart concluded by saying there is serious work to be done on both sides. “Something has to change soon on both the business and consumer sides, or this is only going to get worse.”

10,500 adult consumers were interviewed by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Gemalto from countries including the UK, France, Germany, India, Japan, Australia and Brazil.

Online shoppers are concerned about data breaches. Image: shutter_o/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects