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Retail security concerns flagged by both consumers and IT professionals: studies

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Almost three-quarters (72%) of UK consumers are concerned about the safety of the personal data they share with brands and organisations online, a research from Informatica suggests. At the same time, a Gemalto study of IT security professionals suggests they may have good reason to be concerned: more than half of respondents to the study said their organisation had had suffered repeated data breaches involving payment information in the previous two years, and that they did not know where their payment data was stored.

Informatica’s State of the Data Nation research suggests that British consumers have “worryingly low” confidence in organisations’ ability to keep their personal data safe.

YouGov questioned 2,000 UK adults for Informatica, and found that 73% were wary of how the personal information and data they had shared online would be used, while 56% were concerned about the use of personal data that they had shared online. More than a third (38%) said nothing organisations could do would encourage them to share their personal information online.

“It’s clear from this survey that there is a worrying disconnect between UK businesses and consumers when it comes to how their personal data is stored, shared and secured,” said Greg Hanson, vice president business operations EMEA at Informatica. “Brands and organisations need to address this as a matter of priority. That means putting strong data governance practices at the heart of their customers’ digital experience in order to win back their confidence. Data security is a crucial differentiator for organisations looking to redress the balance and offer maximum protection for personal information in the event of a breach.”

The study asked consumers what steps would encourage them to trust an organisation to look after their data: 50% said they’d like transparency about how their personal information was used, 43% said a privacy policy would reassure them, while 38% said they’d like organisations to respond quickly when there were any issues. Respondents said they’d be most likely to lose trust in a brand not if there was more than one confirmed data breach a year (56%), but if organisations did not communicate following a breach (62%).

That said, customers are becoming more willing to share their information in exchange for rewards, with 22% who said they’d share information for discounts, and 16% for free access to a service such as wi-fi.

More than half (54%) of the 3,700 who took part in the Gemalto global study on Payment Data Security, carried out by the Ponemon Institute, said their company had a security or data breach involving payment data an average of four times in the past two years, while 55% said they did not know where all their payment data was stored. Some 66% of UK respondents said their companies were either not fully compliant with PCI DSS regulations, or were only partially compliant.

“These research findings should be a wakeup call for business leaders,” said Jean-Francois Schreiber, senior vice president for identity, data and software services at Gemalto. “Given what we’ve seen with traditional payment methods and data security, it’s time that companies realise compliance is not enough and fully rethink their security practices. In fact, a full one-third of those surveyed said compliance with PCI DSS is not sufficient for ensuring the security and integrity of payment data. The growing financial fallouts from data breaches and damages to corporate reputation and customer relationships can now carry even greater potential risk as newer payment methods gain adoption.”

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