Reducing confidence in online security threatens UK businesses
• Nearly 50% of GB adults feel less secure about providing personal details to a business online compared to just over a year ago
• More than 75% of consumers would boycott businesses found to have lost or mis-used personal data.
• “Acts of Man” represent growing threat to corporate stability
New research published today charts a worrying decline in public confidence in online security compared to just over a year ago.
The poll, carried out by ComRes on behalf of Kiln - the international specialist insurance and reinsurance underwriting group - showed that 48 per cent of people feel less confident today about submitting personal details online compared to 2010, with women more concerned than men (55% versus 41%).
The data also highlighted even greater public fears over businesses losing or mis-using customersâ€Ÿ personal data, with more than three-quarters (78%) stating an intention to stop using products or services from companies who have been found to have experienced such incidents.
Additionally, overwhelmingly, 86 per cent of people believe that companies found to have mishandled customer data should have to register incidents online for future public reference or research.
The results come on the back of rising levels of cyber crime - which the Government estimates cost the UK economy £27bn a year – alongside a number of recent high profile examples where companies have lost customers’ details, including credit card information and addresses, from websites through hacking or malicious employee behaviour.
Paul Culham, an active underwriter who leads the Enterprise Risk team at Kiln which provides products that cover a broad range of specialist risks including cyber and reputational harm, said: “This poll reflects the unease some consumers have about online transactions and the impact an incident, be it the company’s fault or not, can have on its brand or reputation. The internet presents businesses with huge commercial opportunities, but the reverse side of this coin is the wave of new types of operational, legal and reputational risk that threaten continuity and their ability to trade.”
Due to the increase in data loss incidents, a number of large fines, particularly in the US, have been handed down to companies and regulation has tightened considerably in order to safeguard consumers.
Insurers in the UK are responding to the emergence of online threats to businesses by developing new policies which underwrite these contemporary reputational and continuity risks in the same way as those which protect against the more traditional threats of fire and flood.
Charles Franks, chief executive officer of Kiln, added: “We are starting to see “Acts of Manâ€Ÿ rapidly catching up “Acts of Godâ€Ÿ in terms of risk levels to companies. Business continuity policies have traditionally been focused on fire, floods or extreme weather - incidents beyond human control. However, the emerging threats to businesses through the complex dynamics of the internet is leading to a new type of continuity and brand protection which have human origination at their core.
“For many businesses these new risks are more significant than traditional threats, and are more likely to develop. A number of shareholders and representative groups are watching this space carefully, and some are already urging the businesses in which they invest to protect against risks to intangible assets such as a company’s reputation, brand or electronic networks and databases.”
Kiln is a specialist provider of innovative insurance and reinsurance solutions and recently launched a reputational harm product which seeks to protect businesses’ reputations and revenues.
ComRes interviewed 1003 GB adults by telephone between 15th and 17st April 2011. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (www.britishpollingcouncil.org).