Nearly three-quarters of organizations believe they have adequate policies in place to protect sensitive, personal information, yet more than half have lost sensitive data within the past two years — and nearly 60% of those organizations acknowledge data loss as a recurring problem, according to findings of a global study released by Accenture.
The study — which surveyed more than 5,500 business leaders in 19 countries (28% came from Asia Pacific) — reveals a startling difference between organizations’ intentions regarding data privacy and how they actually protect sensitive personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, race, National ID/social security number and medical history. The study was conducted in conjunction with the Ponemon Institute, an independent privacy, protection and information security research firm.
“The volume of sensitive personal information being collected and shared by organizations has grown exponentially in recent years, making data protection a critical business issue and not just a technology concern,” said Alastair MacWillson, managing director of Accenture’s Security practice. “Our study underscores the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to data privacy and protection, one that closes the gaps between business strategy, risk management, compliance reporting and IT security.”
Fifty-eight% of business respondents have experienced at least one data security breach over the past two years, yet 73% said their organization has adequate policies to protect the personally identifiable information it maintains.
While 70% agreed that organizations have an obligation to take reasonable steps to secure consumers’ personal information, there are discrepancies in their commitments for doing so. For instance, 45% of respondents were unsure about or actively disagreed with granting customers the right to control the type of information that is collected about them.
The study also found that 47% were unsure about or disagreed with customers having a right to control how this information is used. Nearly half also did not believe it was important or very important to: limit the collection (47%) or sharing (46%) of sensitive personal customer information; protect consumer privacy rights (47%); prevent cross-border transfers of personal information to countries with inadequate privacy laws (47%); prevent cyber crimes against consumers (48%); or prevent data loss or theft (47%).
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