Businesses seeing increased consumer awareness of data protection, study says

The Internet landscape is becoming more complex and with its evolution comes new cybersecurity risks. The consumerization of IT, for example, has led more organizations to allow employees to use personal mobile devices to perform work-related tasks, a trend that can invite unforeseen vulnerabilities to the network and increase the potential for data loss. Meanwhile, Anonymous-like hacktivists and cybercriminals plague the web with threats that companies can easily fall victim to if they are unprepared.

In addition to these concerns, more consumers are becoming aware of the importance of data protection and may threaten to leave a company that doesn’t do enough to protect personal information. A new study by Canon Europe found that only 12 percent of customers think businesses do enough to ensure the safety of confidential records. Interestingly, this concern does not deter people from using an organization’s services. The study noted that 64 percent of consumers still label cost as the No. 1 priority when choosing a company, while only 30 percent look deeply at the firm’s data security policies.

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The study found that only 36 percent of consumers read key points in a business’ data privacy program. Only 19 percent of people scan the entire security policy, while 13 percent of customers don’t look at any information safety procedures.

Still, the data protection observation rates are higher than they have been in the past, suggesting consumers are becoming more aware of the evolving cyberthreat landscape.

“There is clearly an opportunity for organizations to raise consumer confidence by clearly communicating security credentials to help everyone become more aware of the importance of data security,” Canon Europe director of information security Quentyn Taylor said.

The research revealed that more than three-quarters of consumers are willing to drop a company’s services if it leaks sensitive information. While respondents believe all information should be protected, the majority are most concerned about financial data, like credit card numbers and bank details, being exposed.

After hearing about the Global Payments breach last month, which exposed hundreds of thousands of financial records, people are becoming increasingly worried about falling victim to identity theft, according to a separate report by the Wall Street Journal. Since many consumers choose to pay with plastic cards over cash, businesses often handle large quantities of confidential records that could lead to severe problems if made public. As a result, individuals are being more diligent than ever when it comes to data protection.

“However, if the planned [European Commission] reforms go ahead and mandatory breach disclosure is enforced, we may see a greater increase in the number of data breaches reported; there is a risk that consumers could start to become indifferent to what constitutes a serious breach,” Taylor said.

In other words, consumers could fall victim to “disclosure fatigue,” Taylor asserted. This means that if organizations continue to report breaches, the incidents will become less significant and lead individuals to not be as worried about the exposure of personal information.

As a result, businesses are burdened with the responsibility of ensuring they uphold the strictest protection policies, including implementing data-centric security during the era of consumerization and cloud computing. With more organizations adopting BYOD (bring your own device) programs, the chances of important information slipping through unforeseen cracks increases.

“The proliferation of increasingly complex, sophisticated and global threats to information security, in combination with the compliance requirements of a flood of computer- and privacy-related regulation around the world, is driving organizations to take a more strategic view of information security,” IT Governance chief executive officer Alan Calder said in a separate report.

Source: simplysecurity

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