New findings from a global research study by Veritas Technologies reveal that Australian consumers have little trust in organisations to safeguard their personal data. With more and more companies suffering data breaches and hackers seemingly one step ahead, almost two in five (37 per cent) consumers believe most businesses don’t know how to protect their personal data.
At the same time, the 2018 Veritas Global Data Privacy Consumer Study also shows that consumers intend to take bold steps in penalising companies that don’t safeguard their data, while rewarding those that do.
Many businesses around the world rely on data to effectively target consumers with goods and services that provide better experiences. But with the introduction of stringent compliance regulations that give people more power over their data—like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—many consumers are closely scrutinising businesses and holding them accountable for the protection of their personal data.
The ‘New Norm’
The study, commissioned by Veritas and conducted by 3GEM, surveyed 12,500 people across 14 countries. It indicates that consumers intend to reward organisations that properly protect their personal data, and punish those that don’t by shopping elsewhere or attacking brand reputations.
Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) say they would stop buying from a business that fails to protect their, while almost half (46 per cent) say they would abandon their loyalty to a particular brand and consider turning to a competitor.
Eight in ten (82 per cent) say they would tell their friends and family to boycott the organisation, while nearly three-quarters (76 per cent) claim they would even go so far as to report the business to regulators. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of consumers say they would post negative comments about the business online.
However, the research shows that consumers also intend to reward companies that are properly protecting their data. Three in five (53 per cent) respondents say they would spend more money with organisations they trust to look after their data, with over a fifth (22 per cent) willing to spend up to 25 per cent more with businesses that take data protection seriously.
“Trust in businesses has been eroded by breaches and high-profile cases where firms have shown a lack of understanding of how the consumer data they hold is used or shared,” said Tamzin Evershed, senior director and global privacy lead, Veritas. “As consumers demand more transparency and accountability from businesses, the ‘new norm’ will see consumers rewarding those organisations that have good data hygiene practices in place while punishing those that don't. Businesses must be seen as trusted custodians of data if they want to reap the rewards associated with building consumer confidence.”
Growing concerns around the collection of personal data
As interest grows in how personal data is used and shared, the research shows that consumers would not consent to sharing the following types of personal data:
- Details about personal finance, including income, mortgage (58 per cent)
- Online habits (41 per cent)
- Location (40 per cent)
- Details about health/ medical records (40 per cent)
- Sexual orientation (25 per cent)
- Religious preferences (23 per cent)
In addition, consumers are becoming more cautious about how their data is shared with companies and third parties. Nine in ten (90 per cent) said they are concerned about the protection of their personal data, with two in five (39 per cent) respondents saying they have no visibility into how companies are using or sharing their data. 22 percent are very concerned that their personal data will be stolen.
“In light of recent events and changes in the law, consumers need much more reassurance when it comes to what personal data companies hold on them, and how it is shared and used,” Evershed said. “This could have significant implications for businesses that rely on collecting consumer data to provide intelligent and targeted services, such as location-based apps. The most successful companies will be those that are able to demonstrate that they are managing and protecting personal data in a compliant way across the board.”
Veritas helps businesses around the world manage, protect and gain valuable insights from their data, regardless of where it sits in their organisation. Veritas’ 360 Data Management for GDPR solution includes an array of comprehensive advisory services and integrated software that enable companies to locate, search, minimise, protect and monitor their data. It not only helps companies jump-start their compliance journey, but helps maintain compliance at every turn moving forward.
Tamara Baker was awarded the CSO Special Recognition award at the 2019 CSO Inaugural Women in Security Awards in September.
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