Majority of consumers say they would stop doing business with companies following a data breach

The majority of consumers say that they would stop doing business with a company once it experienced a data breach, according to a new survey by digital security company Gemalto.

The company surveyed over 10,000 consumers in 11 countries who currently use online or mobile banking, social media or online retail accounts.

70% reported that they would end their relationship with a business if it experienced a serious data breach. 69% do not think that businesses are taking the task of securing customer data seriously enough.

But the problem is not only with the companies. Gemalto found that often consumers are not taking adequate steps to secure themselves. 56% use the same passwords for multiple accounts, and 41% do not take advantage of two-factor authentication services offered by companies.

A central problem lying at the heart of the issue is confusion over which party is responsible for securing data. 62% of consumers believe that it is the companies responsibility, which means that businesses are be required to take additional steps to protect consumers.

Retail brands were the most at risk of losing consumers following a data breach, with 61% saying they would no longer do business with. This was followed by banks (59%) and social media site (58%). 93% said that they would consider pursuing legal action against the company that suffered the breach.

“Consumers are evidently happy to relinquish the responsibility of protecting their data to a business, but are expecting it to be kept secure without any effort on their part,” says Jason Hart, CTO, Identity and Data Protection at Gemalto.

“In the face of upcoming data regulations such as GDPR, it’s now up to businesses to ensure they are forcing security protocols on their customers to keep data secure. It’s no longer enough to offer these solutions as an option. These protocols must be mandatory from the start – otherwise businesses will face not only financial consequences, but also potentially legal action from consumers.”

Action needed on both sides

The survey results also show that consumers have clear trust issues with certain industries compared to others.

While 58% believe that social media sites are one of the biggest risks to their personal data, only 20% thought the same about travel sites despite the fact the amount of data held is likely to be similar.

33% thought that banks were the most trustworthy businesses when it comes to securing data, despite the fact that these organisations are the most frequently targeted by, and the most common victims of, data breaches.

“It’s astonishing that consumers are now putting their own data at risk, by failing to use these measures, despite growing concerns around their security,” Hart continues.

“It’s resulting in an alarming amount of breaches – 80% – being caused by weak or previously stolen credentials. Something has to change soon on both the business and consumer sides or this is only going to get worse.”

– by Colm Hebblethwaite

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