Security fatigue leads many to distrust personal data protection, can you blame them?

20 percent of Americans suffer from security fatigue and don’t trust anyone to protect their personal data. As a result, some people feel they need to take matters into their own hands or at least work with organizations that give them a greater sense of control.

distrust personal data protection

Findings from the nCipher Security survey of more than 1,000 American adults reveal many people want more control over their personal data privacy. Most want tighter controls of how others handle and safeguard their personal data.

Fear of identity theft

Identity theft was survey participants’ leading concern related to sharing personal data online. Survey results indicate two out of three (68 percent) Americans have this fear.

That may help explain why one out of three (34 percent) survey participants said they want control of their personal data. And more than a third (34 percent) said feeling in control of their personal data helps them trust that a company is protecting their personal data.

Desire for greater accountability

A significant share of those surveyed said organizations and individuals that fail to protect personal data should suffer the consequences.

More than a third (38 percent) of those surveyed said organizations should fire their chief information security officers following a hack. Nearly a third (31 percent) would call for the chief technology officer’s (CTO) head in the same situation.

Meanwhile, 38 percent of respondents said a hack should be a federal offense – with government laws in place to fine or imprison C-level executives who don’t keep consumer data safe.

“These survey results clearly indicate consumers are frustrated. In an age when more of their personal data is moving online at an increasingly rapid clip, they’re grasping for a semblance of control. They’ll remain distrustful – a sentiment that will affect the business bottom line – if organizations continue to fall short of taking active measures to protect data. Ultimately, the best defense in cybersecurity is a proactive one, and the right mix of hardware, software and internal education provides a firm foundation of protection. Encryption, digital signing and key generation are also increasingly important, as data that is fully encrypted is useless to hackers even if a data breach does occur,” said Peter Galvin, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at nCipher Security.

Ways to create confidence

Survey results also provide guidance on what businesses and other organizations can do to regain Americans’ trust around data security and privacy.

That includes establishing and enforcing laws that ensure data protection and privacy to:

  • Help people keep their personal data private (58 percent)
  • Impose fines on companies that expose consumer data (55 percent)
  • Allow people to opt out of data collection (48 percent)
  • Enable people to opt out of their data being stored forever (48 percent)

The research results indicate organizations can use data encryption to build trust while protecting personal data privacy. Forty percent of survey respondents said they would trust a company that uses data encryption to protect their personal information.

Survey results also suggest there’s a significant opportunity to educate people on the power of encryption. At least 40 percent of survey participants said they are not familiar with the term encryption or its benefits.

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