Hacking is the biggest concern that Internet users in the U.S. have, according to a new study. People are extremely concerned about the theft of their information, and they want the federal government to take more steps to protect them. Growing consumer fears about cybercrime are important for midsize firms to consider as they move forward and safeguard their corporate data, which includes sensitive information shared by their customers.
Fear of Hackers
A survey conducted for the Computer and Communications Industry Association and recently featured in SecurityWeek revealed that 80 percent of respondents fear that they will fall victim to hackers and online theft. Overall, the study concluded that identity theft is the main concern for consumers, causing more worry than how respondents feel companies may use their data for ads and ad tracking.
More than half of Internet users interviewed said that they know someone who has been a victim of cybercrime and has had an email account breached. Another 50 percent said that they know someone who has had financial accounts compromised on the Internet. As a result of these cybercrime fears, three-fourths of respondents prefer not to have sites remember their credit card numbers. More than half have disabled cookies and have blocked apps from using their location data.
The results of the industry survey relate directly to how midsize firms approach securitymeasures taken at their business. Data security is a top priority at smaller firms, and IT professionals do their best to enforce policies and best practices to prevent a breach. They maintain their information infrastructure with the right software and hardware tools to help ensure that financial and sensitive information does not get into the wrong hands. The challenge is that IT professionals at growing organizations often are compelled to accomplish their security goals with limited resources, time, money and staff. Furthermore, if security goals are not met, the risks have proven to be even more costly and, at times, disastrous. As the survey points out, consumers are extremely worried about their data being compromised by cybercrime. A data breach is terrible PR for a growing firm, and it can lose enormous amounts of time and resources trying to recover from an incident.
There is opportunity to ensure that a company’s information infrastructure is built securely with the appropriate password controls, firewalls, application management controls and mobile device management technology. Vendors that specialize in working with growing firms offer the appropriate counsel to help them fill the knowledge gaps. Through such a partnership, companies can safeguard their corporate and client data.
With time, more companies will place a broader emphasis on protecting consumer data as policymakers and government officials take notice of growing fears and concerns about hacking among Internet users. It is important for consumers to feel safe when they interact with companies and share their personal data. Midsize firms that opt to invest in solid security solutions are laying the groundwork to safeguard sensitive data. In the end, that investment leads to better business relationships and opens up more opportunities to grow.