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Consumers lose confidence in companies' data-protection efforts: Survey

Consumers lose confidence in companies' data-protection efforts: Survey

Most consumers in the United States, Great Britain and Australia are worried about possible exposure of their personal information, and many have lost confidence in how companies protect this data, says a survey released Monday.

The survey, commissioned by Austin, Texas-based software and services firm SailPoint Technologies Inc. and conducted by New York-based Harris Interactive Inc., found that 80% of Americans, 81% of Britons and 83% of Australians who have personal medical information are concerned about moving that data to an electronic form because of the risks of identity theft or invasion of privacy resulting from this information being exposed on the Internet, to other staff members or to their employers.

In addition, among other findings, 65% of Americans said they would wait for more information if they heard that their bank, credit card company or a retailer where they had made a purchase had a security breach that resulted in personal information being stolen. But 16% said they no longer would do business with that firm.

Jackie Gilbert, SailPoint's co-founder and vp of marketing, said in a statement, "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. 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.”

Harris Interactive conducted the survey of around 5,600 individuals in the three countries in May and June of this year.

Further survey information is available here.

Experts say deciding when to inform customers of data breaches is a complex decision.