Are attitudes towards data protection changing?

How attitudes have changed in the wake of the Facebook scandal


The ramifications of the Facebook scandal, which saw the data of a predicted 87 million people unlawfully shared with Cambridge Analytica, are still being felt. In fact, millions of users have deleted their accounts since the story broke earlier this year and the loss of trust following this debacle is likely the cause. So will this, along with the recent introduction of GDPR, be the catalyst that finally transforms the way businesses and their customers view data protection?

Although the Facebook scandal had global ramifications, it is nothing compared to the total amount of sensitive data that has fallen into the wrong hands or been shared without consent. Norton’s latest global research shows that 978 million people were victims of cybercrime last year. Worldwide, consumers lost an estimated $178 billion to hackers. This has continued into 2018, with European regulators reporting a sharp increase in data protection complaints following the introduction of GDPR.

Data privacy remains a serious issue for businesses and consumers alike and regulation like GDPR is beginning to make a difference. So what more can be done to guarantee that sensitive data remains private and consumers can protect themselves?

Focus on education

Sophos research shows people are currently more worried about cybercrime than physical crime, yet a third of them admit ignoring data breach emails. Clearly, businesses have more to do to ensure their customers’ data remains secure – from taking prevention measures themselves to educating consumers on how to act if they fear they’ve been hacked.

The latter couldn’t be more pertinent, as the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report found that despite a 13% increase in data vulnerabilities, people don’t know who to turn to for help, while 41% can’t identify a phishing email and guess at its legitimacy.

This is just the start of the education process though. What more can businesses do to help keep their customers safe, at a time when activity on social media is enough to endanger the most sensitive of data?

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Support customers in the fight against data breaches

Of course, it’s easy to think cybercrime will only happen to other people but Norton research shows 10% of the world’s population experience cybercrime every year – be it ID theft, financial fraud or a misuse of their data. It’s therefore not long before we reach a point where almost everyone has either been a victim or knows someone directly impacted by cybercrime. Regardless of how it happens and who’s at fault, one mistake can have a huge impact – either personally, financially, or both.

Financial institutions such as banks and insurance providers, for example, need to arm their customers with the tools they need to protect themselves – whether it be services which actively scan for potential data privacy risks or educational to help increase awareness. It is this level of service that will drive both increased security and brand advocacy. This way of thinking is starting the hit the mainstream and we’ve already started working with financial institutions across the world to offer cyber and ID protection to their customers.

As disruptive innovators begin to transform the financial services market and offer additional choice to consumers, the provision of services that raise awareness and help improve data privacy and cybersecurity could become a key differentiator in driving loyalty.

One example of this that has the potential to directly impact levels of consumer awareness is dark web scanning. Most consumers won’t have seen the dark web, let alone considered whether their personal data has been published there. By offering this additional peace of mind, customers are given the option to take action before they suffer a loss or damages. In taking this approach, businesses are going the extra mile to show they truly care about the security of their customers’ cybersecurity and data.

Own data protection

The Facebook scandal and the seemingly constant barrage of high-profile data breaches have ensured that cybercrime and data privacy remain at the front of the mindsets of both financial services and their customers. It’s therefore vital that they view this as a time for a data protection step change and take the opportunity to build an ecosystem in which data is as secure as possible. To make this possible, banks and financial institutions must do everything possible to educate and empower their customers to protect themselves while providing peace of mind. Failing to do so will not only result in further breaches but also a loss of customers in the long term. 

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