Over the last several years, financial institutions, retailers and healthcare organizations around the world have become frequent victims of data breaches. As more and more breaches are reported that impact large numbers of consumers, customers are losing confidence in the organizations they once trusted. In the second part of a recent SailPoint Market Pulse Survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, consumers expressed cynicism about how these organizations are protecting their data and a willingness to leave a business that experienced a breach. The recent online survey was conducted among 2,241 adults in Great Britain, 1,023 adults in Australia and 2,309 U.S. adults.
According to SailPoint’s Market Pulse Survey, the majority of adults in the United States, Great Britain and Australia are worried about possible exposure of their personal information, and a large percentage of adults have lost confidence in how companies protect their personal information. As an example, 80% of Americans, 81% of Britons and 83% of Australians who have personal medical information are concerned about moving that information to an electronic form because of the risks of identity theft or invasion of privacy resulting from their personal information being exposed on the Internet, to other staff members or even their employers. The frequent incidence of data breaches is reflected in the fact that many adults think they have become commonplace at financial institutions and retailers: 12% of Americans, 8% of Britons and 8% of Australians believe these breaches happen all the time.
“The widespread impact of data breaches like Epsilon and Sony PlayStation, where millions of consumers were impacted around the world, is making customers more cautious about conducting business with certain financial institutions and retailers,” said Jackie Gilbert, vice president of marketing and cofounder at SailPoint. “These companies obviously spent millions to recover from these data breaches, but the longer term and harder-to-measure costs will be the erosion of customer loyalty and decline in brand perception.”
This mistrust is beginning to affect consumer behavior. The Market Pulse Survey indicates that a security breach at a financial institution or retailer can severely impact customer loyalty. Case in point: 16% of Americans, 24% of Britons and 26% of Australians said they would no longer do business with a bank, credit card company or retailer if a security breach occurred that potentially exposed their personal and financial information to theft. Within these groups, 10% of American, 14% of Britons and 16% of Australians would not only not do business with that organization, but also would tell their family and friends not to do business with that same organization.
In all three regions, the growing use of electronic medical records is a main concern because adults believe that having healthcare organizations manage their personal data electronically exposes them to more threats. Specifically, of the adults in these countries who have personal medical information: 29% of these Americans, 26% of these Britons and 30% of these Australians are most concerned that medical records being made available electronically might result in those records being exposed on the Internet. 35% of these Americans, 33% of these Britons and 37% of these Australians are most concerned about the use of their private information being used to steal their identity. Finally, 10% of these Americans, 14% of these Britons and 11% of these Australians are most concerned about staff members not directly related with their care being able to view their private data.
“Consumers have reason to be concerned about the safety of their personal information and to question how effective organizations are at protecting that information,” continued Gilbert. “In some widely publicized cases, the very basics of user access control were not put in place to safeguard sensitive data, making it child’s play for intruders to gain access to it. SailPoint is working with some of the largest financial services, retail and healthcare organizations around the world to ensure strong controls over data access. Unfortunately, as this survey shows, there is still a lot of work to do to win back customer confidence in light of the number of bad examples across industries.”