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News

Low consumer confidence in data security

Symantec : 29 October, 2009  (Technical Article)
The British public has low levels of confidence in the ability of businesses, particularly in the retail sector, to keep their personal data securely
The British public places limited trust in business to hold their personal data securely - and online retailers attract the lowest level of confidence.

A new study by Symantec asked 1,000 adults in the UK to rate their confidence in the data security standards of a range of business sectors on a scale of one to six, with six being the lowest. Banking scored highest, with an average rating of three, compared with online retail's average of 3.7. Other sectors, including traditional retail, telecoms, transport and the public sector, fell between the two.

Confidence in banking was highest among people under 30, with 72 per cent of them awarding the sector a mark of 3 or above. The research was conducted by the market research institute Emnid.

British business can take a little comfort from the fact that the results are marginally better than those of an identical survey conducted in Germany, where banking scored 3.2 and online retailers 4.4. Germans gave their highest rating to the public sector with 3.1.

"These results show a general concern about the safety of personal data held by private and public-sector organizations in the UK," said Chi-Chi Liang, senior product marketing manager for Data Loss Prevention at Symantec. "This low level of trust is almost certainly related to the many high-profile instances of data loss reported in the media over the past 18 months.

"What the recent data scandals have shown is that even the unconscious misuse of data by people employed within a company can have devastating results," Liang said. "The comparison with Germany merely underlines that businesses and public sector bodies in both countries have some way to go to convince the public that personal data is safe in their hands. The task for organisations in both countries is to win back customer confidence by reassuring them that world-class data loss prevention measures are in place."
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