September 13, 2019

94% of consumers surveyed by IBM in partnership with The Harris Poll agree that businesses should be more proactive in protecting them against cybersecurity threats. And, of those surveyed over half put data privacy protection as a factor in their purchase considerations ahead of product or service quality. IBM says, “consumers are demanding to understand and have control over where their data goes.”

The new poll, published at the IBM News Room and reported by Security Intelligence covered 1000 adult US consumers and was conducted during August 2019.

Generally, IBM concludes that data privacy expectations are “highest” for healthcare providers, banks and insurance companies, and for e-commerce websites. And, the general public have higher expectations for the role companies who collect personal information have in “developing a clear understanding of the use of personal information in business today.” Indeed, more so than the expectations for consumers themselves, governments, watchdogs, and third-party users of data.

Consumer awareness is growing

The poll also outlined the ongoing threat of data theft or misuse, with 58% of respondents having had their own data compromised or knowing someone who has. It’s also clear that knowledge of data privacy concerns and data sharing behaviours is growing. IBM says:

“There is little doubt that companies share information with other companies: only 3 in 10 think it stays with the original company always (7%) or most of the time (24%).”

Control of personal data appears key to consumers

Consumer feelings also appear to be strong around control of personal data with around two-thirds being more willing to share personal data if there was a way to retrieve it and if companies can demonstrate how data is being used.

As it stands 84% of the survey’s respondents believe they have lost control of how their personal information is being used by companies. 83% would also cease doing business with a company if it were to share their personal information without their permission.

IBM launches new z15 enterprise platform

IBM itself has been working on a new enterprise platform for its business users which could better manage customer data privacy. The z15 enterprise platform was announced today and it works across hybrid multicloud business environments. It has “Data Privacy Passports” and policy-based controls with the facility also to revoke access to data which it describes as an “industry-first.” IBM’s press release which included the findings of the new poll, says:

“The movement of data between partners and third parties is often the root cause of data breaches. In fact, 60 percent of businesses reported they suffered a data breach caused by a vendor or third party in 2018. With the growing adoption of hybrid multicloud environments, the importance of maintaining data security and privacy only grows more acute and challenging.”

Consumer attitudes similar across the globe

Though IBM and The Harris Poll concentrated on US respondents, consumer attitudes towards data privacy are not too dissimilar in the UK and Europe. In the UK, a year after GDPR came into effect, 75% of consumers are still concerned about the security of personal data. This from a poll of 1,000 UK consumers conducted by fingerprint identification technology company IDEX Biometrics and as reported by Computer Weekly in July 2019. A TrustArc survey published in May 2019 found that only 36% of over 2000 respondents trusted companies more post-GDPR.

Systems and Awareness go hand-in-hand

For businesses, especially large organisations which need to manage millions of items of personal data, choosing the right systems to manage consumer data is important. For all sized businesses, critical too is the awareness of data privacy regulations, like GDPR in Europe and potential new and state data privacy regulations in the US. Such privacy and security awareness is needed at every level of an organisation and with every employee that handles or collects consumer data.

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