UK public lacks confidence in firms' ability to keep data secure

Even though Brits were sceptical about the capability of firms to keep their data secure, Germans were even more wary of companies' abilities in this regard.

The Symantec study into data security, which took in responses from around 1000 adults across the UK, asked people to rate their confidence in the data security standards of a range of business sectors on a scale of one to six, with six being the lowest.

Banking scored the highest for data security, with an average rating of three, compared with online retail's average of 3.7. Other sectors, including traditional retail, telecoms, transport and the public sector, fell between the two.

Confidence in banking data security was highest among people under 30, with 72% awarding the sector a mark of three or above.

And, the IT security specialist said, UK businesses can take a little comfort from the fact that the results are marginally better than those of an identical survey conducted in Germany, where banking scored 3.2 and online retailers 4.4. Germans gave their highest rating for data security to the public sector with 3.1.

Commenting on the data security confidence survey results, Chi-Chi Liang, Symantec's senior product marketing manager for data loss prevention, said they show a general concern about the security of personal data held by organisations in the UK.

"This low level of trust is almost certainly related to the many high-profile instances of data loss reported in the media over the past 18 months", she said.

According to Liang, what the recent data security scandals have shown is that even the unconscious misuse of data by people employed within a company can have devastating results.

"The comparison with Germany merely underlines that businesses and public sector bodies in both countries have some way to go to convince the public that personal data is safe in their hands.

"The task for organisations in both countries is to win back customer confidence by reassuring them that world-class data loss prevention measures are in place."

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