Consumer trust in data security at ten year low

6th Jan 2014

Only 9% of consumers have faith in brands to keep their data secure, according to a new data research report from Fujitsu.

The research has revealed that consumer trust in data has reached a ten year low thanks to recent data scandals.

Furthermore, a third (29%) of respondents to the research survey reported trust declining in the last year.

The research also found that despite the likelihood of an increase in personalisation and the individual experience as retail moves forwards, customers are wary about this approach – 63% said they didn’t want organisations to use their data to improve their experience.

David Robinson, Fujitsu’s chief security officer for UK & Ireland said there was no room for error anymore while consumers are “battling to understand the impact on their personal information” if a company is hacked.

He continued: “Organisations need to be robust in their security. We describe organisations in two groups, those who have been hacked, and those who will be, for no reason.”

“The effort required here is industrial, as companies are no longer fighting against individuals, but a sophisticated criminal industry, designed solely to access their data.”

But whether this will help consumer confidence and anytime soon for that matter, is not tested. Furthermore only 15% of consumers see any value in their data being used and will seemingly still hand it over in the name of online convenience. Which asks the question, how much does a business feel the need to bulk up security?

While trust has fallen in each sector and 69% said in the survey that the decline was solely down to a lack of trust in the organisation to hold their information, the research found consumers generally had a lack of ownership over their data – only 32% recognised their own involvement in keeping their data secure.

The blame itself is generally placed on the individual employee responsible, while one in ten placed the CEO personally responsible.

Furthermore – 20% would inform the police of a loss in data, seeing the act as a criminal offence.

Part of the distrust could be put down to the way data is used. While retailers might be frustrated by customers not wishing to share data to improve a shopping experience, according to the research, the issue could be a result of vertical sectors like utility and telecoms companies which consumers believe use their data only to extract more money from them.

When it comes to retailers, nearly a third of consumers said their personal information was represented incorrectly on communications, while in the financial sectors the figure was around a quarter.

Despite data being collected, 40% of consumers said they still had an impersonal experience in the retail sector.

Fujitsu said this is the result of organisations failing to capitalise on available data.

As a result this fails to showcase and educate consumers on the benefits of data collection.

Martina King, CEO at Featurespace commented on the research, adding that it was the relative recent nature of big data that didn’t help.

“The thing about personal data is it is new, people are always wary of the new,” she said. “We’re at a time in technology that’s very exciting; devices are enabling us to collect huge amounts of information.”

The subsequent Fujitsu research report goes on to say that the situation will likely remain the same until consumer opinion is changed, which, in turn, won’t happen until organisations educate themselves on data and recognise that investing money in testing, targeting and segmentation will pay for itself in the end – through consumer trust.

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