2 January 2016

Security breaches have serious repercussions for customer loyalty

Part of an infographic showing that 49% of consumers would take legal action against a company which has experienced customer data theft.
Source: Gemalto infographic. Consumers are willing to take legal action against companies which suffer security breaches of consumer data.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers worldwide say they are unlikely to shop or do business again with a company that had experienced a breach where financial information was stole​n, and almost half (49%) had the same opinion when it came to data breaches where personal information was stolen. This is according to a recent global survey* by Gemalto. a digital security provider, titled Broken Trust: 'Tis the Season to Be Wary, which surveyed 5,750 consumers in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US.

Six in 10 people surveyed (59%) believe that threats to their personal information increases during the festive season, while two in 10 (18%) believe that they are likely to be a victim of a breach during the holiday season.

A quarter of all respondents feel that companies take the protection and security of customer data very seriously. More than twice as many respondents feel that the responsibility of protecting and securing customer data falls on the company (69%) versus the customer (31%). Of the employed respondents, only around two fifths (38%) feel that their employer takes the protection and security of employee data very seriously.

The survey revealed that 31% of respondents have already been affected by data breach in the past. Around four in 10 state the most likely causes for being a victim of a breach are visiting a fraudulent website (42%), phishing attacks (40%) or clicking a fraudulent web link (37%). The emotional impact of data breaches has also created apprehensive feelings towards businesses with nearly one fifth surveyed (19%) feeling they are likely to be a victim of one within twelve months to three years.

Ninety percent of surveyed consumers feel that there are apps and websites that pose significant risks to the protection and security of their personal information. Fifty-five percent believe that social media sites expose them to the greatest risk, and around two in five respondents believe adult content and torrent apps/websites carry the greatest risk to the security of personal information.

Around a quarter (23%) of respondents who have been a victim of a data breach, either have, or would, consider taking legal action against the breached company involved in exposing their personal information. Almost half (49%) of respondents said they would take or would consider taking legal action against any of the parties involved in exposing their personal information.

However, the consumer may also be at fault. The survey also found that more than half (54%) of respondents are using the same password for all or some of their online accounts. Of the respondents who actively use social media accounts, only a quarter (25%) use two-factor authentication to secure all of their social media accounts.

Of the respondents who actively use online/mobile banking, around six in 10 (58%) say that all of their banks use two-factor authentication to secure their Internet banking. This is not as widespread amongst retailers, however. Of the respondents who actively use online retail accounts, just a quarter state that all of the online retail apps/websites they use require two-factor authentication to secure online transactions.

"The media coverage of massive data breaches has done little to instil consumers' confidence in how well companies, big and small, are protecting their data," said Jason Hart, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto. "The fact that employees don't even feel that their employers are taking the protection of their personal data security very seriously rings alarm bells. Either companies need to increase their security measures or, assuming that they already have these in place, they need to communicate this to their customers."

Part of a Gemalto infographic showing that 55% of consumers believe social media sites expose their data to the greatest risk.
Source: Gemalto infographic. The websites which pose the greatest threat to customer data theft.

"As companies collect ever-increasing amounts of customer data and as our digital interactions become more diverse, more data about what we do, who we are and what we like is being stored online," continued Hart. "The survey proves that the traditional data security mindset needs to evolve, this goes for companies and consumer adoption of advanced security measures like two-factor authentication. Otherwise, an increasing numbers of consumers will cut ties with companies who aren't taking data protection seriously, and take their business to someone they can trust."


Read the Customer Loy​alty and Data Breach Report
View the complete infographic​​

*Independent technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne was commissioned by Gemalto to undertake the research, for which 5,750 consumers were interviewed during October and November 2015. Seven hundred and fifty interviews were conducted in each of the following countries: UK, Australia, Japan, France and Germany, and 1,500 interviews in the US, plus 500 in Brazil. To qualify for the study, consumers had to actively use online/mobile banking, social media accounts or online retail accounts.​​