Data Breaches can cause Serious Brand and Reputation Damage

A survey from the UK by Thales has showed that 84 percent of respondents would reduce or eliminate the use of an organization’s products or services following breaches , and only 16 percent of respondents would continue to use an organization’s products or services as usual. Responses to the question “If you found out an organisation whose products or services you use had multiple data breaches, which of the following best describes how you would react?” were:

  • 16 percent – I would continue to use their products or services as usual
  • 27 percent  – I would limit my usage of their products or services
  • 37 percent  – I would only use their products or services if I had no alternatives
  • 20 percent  – I would stop using their products or services completely.

“It’s important for firms to recognise just how much of their customer base might be lost in the wake of breach incidents,” said Sol Cates, vice president of technology strategy at Thales e-Security. “With more than half of respondents saying that they would either immediately stop using an organization’s products or services altogether, or use them only if they have no other choice, effective security controls specifically placed around data to prevent and minimise damage from data breaches become an absolute requirement.”

The survey also questioned respondents on what they would be most concerned about following a breach of their personal information. The results showed that theft of money from bank accounts was the primary concern, second to identity theft:

Respondents were asked: “If your personal information were stolen in a data breach of an organisation you do business with, which of the following would you be most concerned about?” Responses were:

  • 46 percent  – Money being stolen from my bank account
  • 38 percent  – My identity being stolen
  • 9 percent  – My account login information being stolen 
  • 7 percent  – Receiving more spam emails

“The theft of money from someone’s bank account as the result of a breach is a very tangible fear, but realistically it is much less likely than other outcomes,” continued Cates, “The implications of identity theft should pose far more of a concern, as they can be extremely painful and long lasting, with clean-up from incidents taking months or even years.”

The Thales Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,023 nationally representative UK adults ages 18+, between September 22 and September 28, 2016, using an email invitation and an online survey.

1. Your IT department needs to understand the impact of their actions on the Company’s Reputation. Include them in your crisis team and ensure that they undergo Reputation Training.