Information Commissioner’s Office Survey

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a survey into the British public’s approach to personal data, showing widespread distrust in others’ handling of it. One of the key finding is that only a quarter of Brits trust businesses with our personal data. Paul Henry, IT Security Consultant, Blancco Technology Group provides an insight on this below.

 Paul Henry, IT Security Consultant at Blancco Technology Group:

“One of the more startling findings of the ICO study is that 68 percent of UK adults fear that companies will sell their personal data to other companies for marketing purposes. This just brings to light a persistent and growing concern over who has control of users’ personal data, what they’re doing with it and if data is being properly removed when it should be. The more tech savvy and digitally inclined consumers become, the more aware, apprehensive and demanding they are in how they expect businesses to manage their data. And recent data breaches at companies like TalkTalk and Ashley Madison have amplified these growing worries into mistrust.

What’s more – most businesses operate and survive by one important rule. They must deliver a seamless, omnichannel customer experience if they want to attract, engage, retain customers and scale the business long-term. This has inevitably made data highly valuable and in-demand. And so, we’ve seen the emergence of data analytics service providers whose business model is based on collecting as much data as they can on everything consumers do online. And they often sell the data to businesses, who can then use the data to better understand user behaviors, content preferences and purchasing patterns. Because if they can use the data to know their customers more personally, they can fine-tune their marketing messages, content and advertising to be as relevant and personalized as possible. And that translates into new customers, repeat buyers, higher average order values (AOV) and increased sales.

But while most customers appreciate being targeted with the right content at the right times and places, they aren’t willing to compromise their personal privacy for a better customer experience. It’s not an either/or situation for customers – businesses need to hear that and figure out a way to optimize the customer experience and protect customers’ data. And they need to be transparent with customers in how they collect, store, manage and eventually remove data – otherwise, they could easily fall into the same situation that Ashley Madison fell into and not only lose customer data, but also lose customer trust, loyalty and spending.”

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