How concerned are you about your data privacy, as a consumer, particularly when you entrust it to another business? If you answered “very”, you aren’t alone… 87 percent of Americans consider their data privacy to be a human right. Having said that, most don’t pay near enough attention to their own security precautions. Most people know that their privacy is important to them but aren’t aware of the steps to take to work on protecting it. Let’s take a few moments and examine this trend and ask the question, “Do your privacy practices line up with your privacy expectations.”
How Consumers View Business Data Practices
A recently released report presented the results of a survey of American consumers to chart their attitudes and expectations regarding corporations and their data privacy. This report—which was compiled by advisory firm KPMG and is available for download on their website—outlined the primary privacy concerns of the everyday user and discusses the statistics around the issue.
Overall, the results showed varying levels of awareness amongst these users and made a few shared concerns very clear. For instance:
- 86 percent of respondents to the survey felt that their data privacy was a rising concern.
- 70 percent claimed to be “generally familiar” with how companies collect their personal data, while 64 percent were familiar with how it was used and stored, 63 percent say they understand how it is protected, and 57 percent say they know how it is sold.
- Having said that, 68 percent don’t trust these companies to sell this data ethically, 54 percent don’t trust it will be used ethically, 53 percent don’t feel it will be collected ethically, and 50 percent don’t trust these companies to protect their data sufficiently.
- Most consumers are concerned about the theft of their social security number, with 83 percent of respondents identifying this concern. Following closely behind come the 69 percent worried about their credit card numbers.
- Surprisingly, only 16 percent are concerned about the theft of their medical records.
How Consumers Treat Their Own Data Practices
Now, while this sounds promising (if not quite at optimal numbers), this concern isn’t reflected in consumers when their own actions are considered. While many—in fact, the majority—of users stated that they would consider it risky to engage in many online behaviors, like repeating passwords across accounts, using public Wi-Fi, and saving a credit card to a website, over 40 percent did these things regardless.
This study also took note of the fact that many users neglected their own security options… 61 percent, in fact. This is what is so interesting, based on the statistics above, people really care about their privacy, don’t seem to trust businesses with their data, but still give it to them anyway.
What This Should Tell Us, as People and Business Owners
Whether you’re considering your own personal data, or you’re thinking about the data you’ve collected as you’ve done business, security needs to be your highest priority. Harvard Business Review Analytic Services conducted a study of their own, and the results were quite telling.
46 percent, essentially half of surveyed consumers, said that they had stopped doing business with a retailer due to discomfort with their privacy statement.
That’s huge and an important step. As a consumer, it only shows how much power can potentially be wielded to help improve security for everybody… and how much responsibility that power gives us. As a business, it’s a wakeup call to how important securing data really is. While comprehensive data and information security isn’t a simple process and will ultimately make some of your internal processes more time-consuming, it is better than alienating half of your market.
We hope this article made you question whether your privacy practices line up or not. Fortunately, Symmetric IT Group can help make the adoption of improved security solutions and procedures far simpler. We handle all types of IT services and can give you the IT solutions and IT support your company needs to succeed. To learn more about what we have to offer to help ensure your data security, give us a call at (813) 749-0895 today.