FTSE companies lack secure data collection methods

With less than a year remaining until the commencement of the GDPR, new research reveals that more than one-third of all public web pages of FTSE 30 companies capturing personally identifiable information (PII) are in danger of violating the regulation by doing so insecurely.

FTSE companies lack secure data collection methods

When assessing the public websites of FTSE 30 organizations, RiskIQ found that more controls on external facing web assets, known as an organization’s digital footprint, are needed in order to support requirements ahead of the fast-approaching GDPR deadline. Most data capture forms found on websites fall within the scope of GDPR as they collect personal data. The regulation emphasizes that provisions should be in place to ensure that PII is securely captured and processed.

Research on the public facing websites of FTSE 30 organizations reveals:

  • 99,467 live websites in total, an average of 3,315 websites per organization
  • 13,194 pages on those sites that collect PII; an average of 440 pages per organization
  • 34% of pages that collect PII are doing so insecurely.

Insecure collection of PII is not just a GDPR compliance violation. The loss of personal data, profit, and reputation resulting from the use of insecure forms is a legitimate concern for consumers, as well as shareholders.

In addition to personal claim liability, Article 83 provides guidance on fines for GDPR faults, which start at the greater of €10m or 2% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year – or even double depending on the infraction. This applies to all companies actively engaging with European citizens, regardless of whether they have a physical presence in Europe.

GDPR hygiene extends beyond secure collection. As part of the regulation’s fairness and transparency guidelines, organizations must clearly state at the point of capture how they’ll be using an individual’s data. Permission to use their data must be explicit and demonstrated through an action such as ticking a box, a significant departure from the ‘opt out’ process most organizations have in place today.

“While this RiskIQ research is focused on large UK companies, the findings will be representative of all organizations. Many will already have the data security basics in place to comply with the regulations that precede GDPR. However, GDPR has many additional requirements, especially around the way data is captured and processed. These include obtaining explicit opt-in from data subjects. Before an organization can address GDPR, it needs to fully understand the extent of its online data gathering activities. With enforcement of GDPR less than a year away, the time to act is now,” said Bob Tarzey, analyst and director, Quocirca.