Public confidence in handling secure data has fallen, research reveals
Data breaches in the private sector have risen by 58% in the last year, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Despite that figure the ICO says it is happy with the progress that is being made in raising awareness around keeping data secure. However, public confidence in businesses ability to keep data secure has fallen.
According to its latest research there has been a 58% rise in the number of data breaches reported to the ICO from companies in the private sector so far in 2011/12 than in the same period last year.
The research also revealed that nearly three-quarters of businesses now understand that the data protection act (DPA) requires them to keep personal information secure, a figure that is up 26% on last year’s.
However public confidence has fallen when it comes to how companies protect their data. The ICO claims that less than half of individuals surveyed believe that organisations process their data in a "fair and proper manner", while three-quarters of individuals believe that online companies are not keeping their details secure.
"I’m encouraged that the private sector is waking up to its data protection responsibilities, with unprompted awareness of the Act’s principles higher than ever," said Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham. "However, the sector does not seem to be putting its knowledge to good use."
"The fact is that security breaches in the private sector are on the rise, and public confidence in good information handling is declining. Businesses seem to know what they need to do – now they just need to get on with doing it. It’s not just the threat of a £500,000 fine that should provide the incentive," he added. "Companies need to consider the damage that can be done to a brand’s reputation when data is not handled properly. Customers will turn away from brands that let them down."
The survey also revealed that awareness of the role of the ICO is at its highest since the organisation began to track it. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they are aware that the ICO enforces the DPA.