Internet trust at all time low

The internet has long been a place of exploration and discovery. It was and is exciting.

However, as the world wide web has spread and connected people across the globe, all the way from Patagonia to Mongolia, a threat has grown.

Data protection is an issue of the time and with so many data breaches occurring trust in the internet has waned.

This distrust is logical, but what can be done to confront the issue and tackle it head on?

A recent report from the Internet Society highlighted 40% of users admit they would not do business with a company which had suffered a data breach.

The average cost of a data breach is now $4 million, up 29% since 2013.

>See also: How the Internet of Things is impacting enterprise networks

This highlights the extent of the data breach problem, and the inevitable change in relationship between the user the internet.

“One of the key questions raised by this report is why organisations are doing so little to protect their customers’ data?” said Michael Kende, Economist and Internet Society Fellow who authored the report.

“Everyone knows that data security is a major issue for both consumers and businesses, yet companies are not doing everything they could to prevent breaches.”

“According to the Online Trust Alliance, 93% of breaches are preventable. And steps to mitigate the cost of breaches that do occur are not taken – attackers cannot steal data that is not stored, and cannot use data that is encrypted.”

“This status-quo isn’t good enough anymore. As more and more of our lives migrate online, the cost and risk of a data breach is greatly increased, and will lead to lost revenues and a lack of trust.”

With a reported 1,673 breaches and 707 million exposed records occurring in 2015, organisations must change their stance.

>See also: Big data vs. the Internet of Things: how the projects differ

The report provides five recommendations for building user trust in this shifting online environment, stating that more needs to be done to protect online personal information.

1. Put users – who are the ultimate victims of data breaches – at the centre of solutions

When assessing the costs of data breaches, include the costs to both users and organisations.

2. Increase transparency about the risk, incidence and impact of data breaches globally

Sharing information responsibly helps organisations improve data security, helps policymakers improve policies and regulators pursue attackers, and helps the data security industry create better solutions.

3. Data security must be a priority

Organisations should be held to best practice standards when it comes to data security.

>See also: 4 new areas of security vulnerability created by the Internet of Things

4. Increase accountability

Organisations should be held accountable for their breaches. Rules regarding liability and remediation must be established up front.

5. Increase incentives to invest in security

Create a market for trusted, independent assessment of data security measures so that organisations can credibly signal their level of data security. Security signals enable organisations to indicate that that they are less vulnerable than competitors.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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