A global survey of consumer trust in organisations to protect their data has found Aussie’s faith in businesses to be the lowest in the world.
The CA Technologies commissioned report by analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, questioned just under 1,000 consumers around their confidence in brands to appropriately collect, store and use their digital information.
The research found Australian consumers had the lowest overall level of ‘digital trust’, ranking below the US and China.
Australian business executives however, believed digital trust in their organisations to be far higher – the second highest disparity between leader perception and reality in the world (after Italy).
“Simply put, business leaders overestimate consumer trust in their organisations. Nowhere is this trend more noteworthy than in Australia,” the report said, adding that organisations are “dangerously out of touch” with customers.
Some 62 per cent of Australian consumers said they are “definitely” cautious about sharing personal data over the internet.
More than a third (38 per cent) of consumers claimed to use the services of organisations that have publicly disclosed a data breach. Of those that had personally experienced a data breach, more than a third stopped using the services after a breach occurred.
Trust levels were found to be higher in well-known brands, as well as brands which had websites that offered a security overview page to describe how it secures data. ‘Digital trust’ was also greater in companies that had been recommended by friends or colleagues.
More than two thirds of Australian consumers believe that companies, whose services they use over the internet, sell their personal data to other companies. This is despite the sale of consumer data by businesses in Australia being the lowest in the world – according to executives – at 33 per cent.
Digital trust is more than just a nice-to-have, the report states.
“Higher digital trust is directly correlated with increased spending online, and a relatively small number of factors account for the public’s perception of the strength of an organisation’s data protection. But business leaders must be conscious not only of the positive effects of gaining digital trust, but also of the negative impact of losing it,” it says.
The report adds that at present there is an “extraordinary disconnect between the experiences of consumers and the perceptions of organisations” around trust.
“We are at a crossroads in the information age as more companies are being pulled into the spotlight for failing to protect the data they hold, so with this research, we sought to understand how consumers feel about putting data in organisations’ hands and how those organisations view their duty of care to protect that data,” said Jarad Carleton, industry principal, cybersecurity at Frost & Sullivan.
“What the survey found is that there is certainly a price to pay – whether you’re a consumer or you run a business that handles consumer data – when it comes to maintaining data privacy. Respect for consumer privacy must become an ethical pillar for any business that collects user data,” he added.
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