Insights

Businesses 'must build data security trust'

Businesses still have some way to go in persuading customers that they are safely handling their personal data

Wednesday 12 November 2014

People’s confidence in data security remains low, according to new Deloitte research, with a growing number of news stories referencing personal information breaches.

The latest Data Nation study from the business advisory firm has revealed that between January and the end of September, a total of 24,105 news stories referred to personal data breaches.

This year’s reading is markedly higher than the figures of 5,474 and 4,023 which were witnessed in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

‘Low confidence levels’

At the same time, the report said people are less confident that their personal details are secure.

Data Nation found that 63% of people do not have much or any confidence that companies will keep their personal information and data secure from losses or theft.

The importance of trust

Deloitte Analytics' research director, Harvey Lewis, said companies could lose out on people’s custom if they do not appear to be trustworthy.

He added: “At the absolute minimum, companies should make sure they keep data safe and secure, but they must also explain what data they collect and what they do with it.

“If companies are open and transparent about this, people may be more willing to share their personal information, particularly if there are benefits they can receive in return.”

Clearer terms and conditions

Business could reassess their approach to providing information through detailed terms and conditions in order to improve relationships with their customers, Deloitte’s report suggests.

It said that 47% of web users do not take the time to read things like privacy policies at present, while just 34% feel that data collection processes are easy to understand.

Improving transparency

Commenting on these trends, Peter Gooch, privacy leader at Deloitte, said: “If someone were to read the privacy policies of the top 100 websites, they’re set to lose 44 hours out of their year. Companies should make the privacy policies easier to understand by using everyday, clear language.”

Mr Gooch added that data collection and privacy policies need to extend beyond legal compliance.

He said firms could look to highlight the main points of privacy policies alongside their full legal documents, or provide micro-sites which explain their practices more clearly.

Mr Gooch concluded that businesses need to increase their focus on these issues, and they can build people’s confidence by becoming more transparent.

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Copyright Press Association 2014

“At the absolute minimum, companies should make sure they keep data safe and secure, but they must also explain what data they collect and what they do with it.” Harvey Lewis, Deloitte Analytics' research director

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