Research Reveals Lack Of Consumer Trust In The Security Of Data In The UK

UK company Secerno announced the results of an independent survey of over 1,200 UK consumers reviewing their concern on the issue of personal data theft. The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI, reveals that only 5% of respondents claimed not to be concerned about the security of their personal data.

The recent publicity on international breaches, such as the TJX/TKMaxx data loss, has had a dramatic impact on the UK consumer.

It is not only the ability to secure UK data that concerns the public. More and more British companies are choosing to outsource their database storage and management facilities overseas. However, the survey reveals that 63% of adults are concerned about the ability of data centres to protect their data, in the UK and abroad.

The survey suggests there is clearly a requirement for the issue of high-profile data breaches to be addressed on a political level as 58% of respondents want to see Government bodies, along with banks and building societies, taking greater responsibility for the protection of personal data.

For those companies which disregard the importance of the immediate communication of security incidents to their affected customers, they can expect to see their customers firstly, abstaining from using their services (53%) before secondly, opting to cancel their credit cards

(48%) and thirdly, reporting them to the Police (20%) or national consumer bodies, e.g Watchdog (17%).

Expectations are high for greatly improved customer communication. In fact, 82% claim that they would expect to be notified immediately in the event of a data breach, and more than half would take their custom elsewhere in the event of such a data loss.

Additional findings from Secerno's survey include:

* 45% do not think that banks and online retailers do enough to protect their personal data;

* 83% specifying the security of their bank and credit card details as being their priority concern;

* 36% of consumers would not put personal information online, yet 11% of them have still been a victim of data theft;

* Only 5% of the UK public surveyed are not worried about data loss;

* As well as the security of financial data being a concern, 46% of all respondents are most concerned about protecting their medical records, and is highest amongst the 45+ ages 45-plus (52%).

"This survey provides the UK business community with a clear and valuable insight as to the British public's response to the recent rise in cases of data theft or accidental loss," said Paul Davie, CEO and Founder of Secerno. "These cases have had an impact on the attitudes of consumers in both the online and offline worlds, as one in nine people overall said that they have been a victim of data theft, yet almost half of those victims would never put personal information online and a quarter of all respondents claim never to use the internet.

Davie says, " Consumers have a right to be told immediately whenever their personal information may have been compromised, yet those companies holding personal data know that they are likely be punished when a breach becomes known - by loss of customers, damage to reputation, cost of clear up and share price impact. This means that companies have an immediate disincentive to do the right thing in such cases.

He continues, "There is an obvious need for Government action to rebuild public confidence here and a new legal framework is needed in Europe to force disclosure of breaches. Currently, there is no EU Directive to enforce disclosure - which means a TJX/TKMaxx could already have happened but, unlike US companies, European companies would not necessarily be obliged to warn their customers.

"Without getting to grips with database management and reviewing the new generation of effective protection from internal and external attacks, it is evident from our survey that customers will punish the service-providers for their lack of efficiency and respect for their security," he said. "In this day and age, new data-security solutions can enable corporate-level institutes to develop a secure environment, improve operations and ultimately save time, money and their valued customers"