Procurement · 24 November 2015

Vast majority of consumers want reassurance on businesses’ data protection

consumers want to see evidence of what firms are doing to keep their data secure
Consumers want to see evidence of what firms are doing to keep their data secure

Some 83 per cent of UK consumers do not trust businesses to protect their data and want firms to highlight what is being done to protect personal information, according to new research by the Institute of Customer Service.

The survey revealed that consumers want to see evidence of what firms are doing to keep their data secure – and support harsher government penalties for companies that are not taking adequate steps to safeguard customer information against hackers.

“Acceptance of the inevitability of cyber attacks may be a reality, but British consumers have become increasingly concerned about the way organisations use customer data and protect it,” said Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service.

In the US, the Federal Trade commission has been touring the country urging young technology firms to “start with security” and ensure that protecting users’ data from cyber attacks is considered from the first conception of a product. The British government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign has focused on dispelling the myth that only firms that accept online payments are vulnerable to breaches.

Yet research by campaign released in February found that a quarter of small businesses think that cyber security is too expensive to implement, even though 60 per cent of small firms suffered a cyber security breach in 2014, according to PWC.

Half of the firm leaders surveyed by HM Government and Marsh early in 2015 were unaware that insurance against cyber attacks is available to help small businesses recover from data theft if preventative events fail – with some insurers promising help repairing reputational damage when customer information is compromised, as well as covering fines and legal advice.

SME insurance provider Hiscox UK relaunched its cyber and data security insurance offering last year to provide more comprehensive cover. “Cyber and data risks affect more businesses than you would think and are often less well understood,” explained head of technology Matthew Webb. “Businesses that suffer a cyber attack or data breach often want more than just a payout from an insurer – each want practical advice and expert guidance that gets them back on their feet,” he added.

Almost one third of those surveyed by the Institute of Customer Service revealed they would switch to another supplier if a company they had provided data to suffered a security breach – and one in four believed that nothing could restore their trust in a business following an incident in which their data was compromised.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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