Aussies wary about businesses’ ability to keep their data safe and private

data, privacy breaches, cyber incidents

New research from digital security firm Imperva, Inc. shows many Australians have little trust in organisations keeping their information secure and private.

Its No Silver Linings report reveals that 39 per cent of Aussies say that their faith in digital service providers to keep personal data secure and private has decreased in the past five years, while 36 per cent remained the same and 14 per cent increased. Over three quarters, 28 per cent, also say that they don’t trust any of the industries listed in the report to adequately protect their data.

Among different generations, people aged 45-54 have the most mistrust of organisations (34 per cent), while 18-24 year-olds are more trusting (22 per cent).

“Organisations face a complete breakdown of trust unless they begin rebuilding now,” Tony Mascarenhas, Area Vice President for Australia and New Zealandn at Imperva, said. “While organisations rush to introduce more digital innovations, it is vital they don’t overlook the potential security risks these new technologies create. Data breaches can have a real and lasting impact, from downtime and fines to loss of revenue and damaged brand reputation. Prevention is always going to be better than the cure, which is why data-centric security must be part of every organisation’s strategy in 2022.”

The report also reveals that many express distrust for industries that handle the most valuable and sensitive data. Only 43 per cent trust Financial Services, and 37 per cent trust Healthcare and Government. There is almost no trust for Messaging Services, Social Media, Media and Streaming Services, Online Gaming, and Retail (all scoring 10 per cent or below). Older generations (45+) place more trust in highly regulated industries than younger generations (18-35), while younger ones are more likely to trust those digital-first brands (Messaging Services, Social Media and Streaming Services) compared to older consumers.

“The majority of Aussies trust highly regulated industries because they know they are required to meet a higher standard by law,” Mascarenhas said. “However, younger consumers are bucking this trend. Instead they trust the digital-first brands that they use on a daily basis because they have become a utility in their life. Valuable lessons in the management and protection of personal data can be gleaned from both ends of the spectrum.”

Over three-quarters, 77 per cent, of Australians are happy to share their personal information such as name, contact information, and date of birth with organisations – either openly online or with sites and apps that are password protected or have two-factor authentication. However, more than a third say they never share financial and health information with a digital service or app, with mental health information the most tightly held.

The report also found that 64 per cent feel like they don’t have a choice but to share their personal data if they want to use online services. 66 per cent say they have “no idea” how many companies they’ve shared their personal data with, and 47 per cent say they share data with so many different companies that they can’t possibly verify each company’s track record of how well they look after and protect personal data.