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Poll: Are Companies Finally Being Held Accountable For Data Breaches?

TMCnet Feature

October 03, 2014

Poll: Are Companies Finally Being Held Accountable For Data Breaches?

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich
TMCnet Contributing Writer

Data breaches seem to be flooding the headlines these days from the cyber attack on Target (News - Alert) toward the end of last year to the one on Home Depot just last month and just today news surfacing of hacking troubles at CHASE. A new snap poll conducted by HyTrust, which provides virtualization security and compliance solutions, sheds light on the aftermath of these scenarios and reveals that companies will be paying a high price when their customers' information is comprised.

Of the 2,000 consumers that responded to the poll, approximately half said they would take their business elsewhere after a breach involving a comprise of personal information. That number increased to more than 60 percent among consumers in the 35 to 44 age range--which is a key demographic.

While a little less than half believe that companies should be considered 'criminally negligent' the moment a breach happens, just 12 percent withhold criticism until a breach occurs more than once. The issue of blame varies depending on the consumers' age and income, however the majority of respondents believe that all officers of a company should be held responsible and blame is strongly geared toward the breached company when a person's identity is either stolen or misused.

More than a third of 25 to 34 years old place immediate blame compared to approximately half of those 65 and older, and consumers who earned more tended to be more forgiving. Moreover, those in the 25 to 34 age range cited chief security officers the most responsible for the failure to protect information and those in the 45 to 54 age range went easiest on CSOs.

While data breaches steal all kinds of personal information, more than a third indicated the social security number as being the worst piece of information to be comprised. That concern increases with those making $50,000 to $74,000 per year and decreases among those who earn $24,000 or less per year.

“There probably isn’t a single straw that broke the camel’s back—it’s just the sheer volume of stories about data breaches, many at companies that have developed a customer-friendly brand,” HyTrust President Eric Chiu said in a statement. “What this poll shows is that companies are finally, and inevitably, being held to account for their security vulnerabilities."

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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