Security

3 things businesses need to know about customer privacy expectations

After a data breach, 57% of consumers blame companies above everyone else, even hackers, for the event, according to an RSA Security report.

Recent high-profile data breaches have uncovered a major risk associated with digital transformation: A loss of customer trust, according to an RSA Security report released on Wednesday. The report reveals a disconnect between how organizations are using customer data, and how customers think their data should be used.

The study surveyed more than 6,000 adults in France, Germany, the UK, and the US. More than half (57%) of customers blamed companies above anyone else, even a cyberattacker, in the event of a data breach, according to the report. Some 48% of consumers said they don't believe there are any ethical ways organizations can use personal data.

SEE: Cybersecurity strategy research: Common tactics, issues with implementation, and effectiveness (Tech Pro Research)

"With a growing number of high-profile data breaches, questions around the ethical use of data and privacy missteps, consumers increasingly want to know how their data is being collected, managed and shared," Nigel Ng, vice president of international at RSA, said in a press release. "Now is the time for organizations to evaluate their growing digital risks, doubling down on customer privacy and security."

The report identified the following three insights on customer privacy expectations that businesses should take note of:

1. Context matters

While all customers are concerned about their financial, banking, and password data, other top concerns vary based on personal background. Organizations must consider each consumer's personal context—whether it be age, nationality, or gender—when implementing data policies.

2. Privacy expectations are cultural

Privacy policies can affect consumers differently based on where they are located. For example, the GDPR impacts those living in or handling data from the EU, but not those outside of it. Data privacy can change because of cultural factors, current, events, or high-profile data breaches in specific countries. Businesses, especially global ones, must consider how regulations could affect consumers in different countries.

3. Personalization remains a puzzle

While personalization can increase user activity and business revenue, consumers don't feel like their data helps companies offer more personalized services, the report found. Companies must communicate to their consumers about why and how their data is being used to improve both trust and personalization.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Most customers solely blame companies in the event of a data breach. — RSA Security, 2019
  • When considering the implementation of data policies, businesses should remember that context matters, privacy expectations are cultural, and personalization remains a puzzle. — RSA Security, 2019

Also see

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About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

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