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News

Poor consumer confidence in corporate data security

Dns : 09 October, 2008  (Technical Article)
Royal Sun Alliance research indicates that majority of consumers have low confidence in the security measures taken by retailers and banks
Latest research from insurance company Royal Sun Alliance highlights that 90 per cent of people feel that their personal information is not completely secured. Confidence in retailers, banks and online auction sites is falling fast as a further 46 per cent indicated that they felt retailers and banks didn't do enough to protect their personal details.

The survey reveals falling confidence levels, as well as a lack of trust in company employees, who can often pose the biggest danger to personal information. With National Identity Fraud Prevention Week in full swing, its own studies have already revealed growing public concern, with 92 per cent of employees admitting that the identity of their customers could be stolen by a fraudster.

With this apparent laissez-faire attitude toward securing personal data, the subject raises serious questions about what companies will do beyond the week-long national initiative to re-dress current standards. Richard Lewis, sales and marketing director at dns, comments on some of the areas where organisations are failing in securing data and what they need to do to win back fading customer confidence:

"It is clear that most customers are shocked but not surprised by the lack of seriousness when it comes to handling their personal details. With news of data leaks, loss and breaches hitting the headlines every week, it is little wonder that the public's perception of retailers, e-tailers and banks is a shaky one. Consumers are unsure about their personal confidentiality and are still in the dark about who is handling their data, how it is being distributed and whether or not it is secured.

Companies will need to think beyond the national security push this week and seriously consider what safety measures they will be taking to restore public confidence and secure the data they already have. Retailers can't afford to overlook compliance regulations, particularly as PCI is still a requirement that merchants are struggling with in the UK. There are also a number standards in place to assist financial firms and online merchants to better protect sensitive data and develop effective security policies, as organisations are often un-equipped to mitigate risks or spot potential threats. As a result, a number of companies are now looking into Privacy Impact Assessments to provide clarity and confidence to their customers on how and where personal information is stored. If organisations need to seek help, they should look to dedicated security experts who can give sound advice on technologies and strategies that will help reinforce their public presence."
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