Organisations wondering whether data-security efforts are worth the effort will no doubt find motivation in new research that found consumers are more concerned about the security of their credit-card information than they are about their health or their retirement savings.
The research, conducted by KRC Research on behalf of retail systems giant Honeywell, found that 93 percent of the more than 2000 surveyed respondents were concerned about the security of their credit-card information – compared with just 84 percent that indicated they were concerned about their health and 81 percent about their retirement savings.
Some 90 percent of respondents were aware of recent breaches of supposedly-secure credit card details at major retailers, and more than 20 percent said they didn't feel secure when using cards at retail businesses.
Risks were high for retailers, with consumers indicating that a breach of their data would see them changing their shopping behaviours: 76 percent of respondents said they would no longer use their cards at any outlet where their personal data was compromised, and 38 percent said they would stop shopping with that retailer altogether.
"When consumers are more worried about the security of their credit and debit card information than their health or retirement savings, it shows an erosion of trust and a growing consumer fear when handing over their personal data to retailers," Bob Grabowski, vertical marketing leader for retail with Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, said in a statement.
"Consumers are clearly stating that there must be an immediate shift for retailers to proactively use the most advanced technologies available to ensure the safety of their information at all times."
An ongoing series of high-profile security breaches has had major retailers on the back foot in recent years, with US companies like Target, Home Depot, Goodwill Industries, and Supervalu just the tip of the iceberg as hackers target point-of-sale (POS) and other retail systems that obscure a treasure-trove of credit-card information.
Apathetic retailers have been blamed for the security slipups for years, but their exploitation in 2013 and 2014 has reached new heights.
In May, for example, security researchers uncovered a global botnet built on almost 1500 POS systems and back-end systems at retailers in 36 countries. Indeed, a report by security firm Trustwave this year found that fully one-third of all data breaches in 2013 were due to POS breaches.
Such figures have driven consumers to expect the retail sector to lift its game, with encryption favoured as a security method in the Honeywell survey and fully 93 percent of respondents arguing that governments should mandate security safety requirements.
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