CompTIA Survey: Consumers Gaining Confidence in Companies’ Handling of Data

Although recent research shows a rising level of trust in the ways that organizations engaged in e-commerce handle customer data, the trade group says many consumers are growing numb to cybersecurity issues.

Near the end of a year that seems defined by stories of massive personal-data leaks—and after a string of breaches over the past several years affecting major retailers such as Target—consumers are still showing some confidence in the world of e-commerce.

That’s according to a survey by CompTIA released last week, just as the holiday shopping season was getting underway.

“Many Americans are willing to give retailers the benefit of the doubt if a security breach occurs—as long as they have taken significant measures to secure data,” the trade group said in  a news release. “Nevertheless, the research also shows that Americans have become de-sensitized by the vast amount of conflicting information they receive about cybersecurity and privacy breaches. “

Among almost 1,000 consumers surveyed, 21 percent gave online retailers good marks for data protection, while 18 percent said companies are doing a bad job keeping data secure. Making an effort means something to many consumers: 54 percent of respondents said that they value companies that make reasonable efforts to prevent data theft.

However, CompTIA warned that confidence in companies’ online security mechanisms may simply reflect a growing numbness to cybersecurity concerns, perhaps because consumers see breaches occur so often.

Elizabeth Hyman, the group’s executive vice president of public advocacy, noted in the news release that just 25 percent of consumers factor in online privacy policies when using a digital service. The problem is likely rooted in confusion, she said.

“Today’s patchwork of state regulations and legislation mean that consumers often times are receiving multiple and competing information about the size and scope of a breach,” she said.

Hyman said a national data-protection law would help alleviate the problem, a proposal that is currently gaining attention in Washington.

“It is time for industry and government to come together to find new national privacy and security solutions that better educate consumers and enable them to easily determine if a company is protecting their data and information—or not,” she said.

(Jirsak/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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