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Security showdown: 3 in 4 consumers would stop purchasing from a brand if it suffered a cyber incident

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Public Relations

Data breaches happen so often now that the public never hears about them—unless of course you happen to be a customer of a victimized brand or business that failed to protect your personal information. New research from digital security firm Vercara reveals that in 2023, businesses were hit with 800,000 cyberattacks. The importance of consumer trust in businesses has never been more important—or more volatile.

The firm’s survey research, in partnership with Dynata, found that once this brand trust is lost, companies rarely get a second chance—an overwhelming 75 percent of consumers surveyed expressed their readiness to sever ties with a brand in the aftermath of any cybersecurity issue. 

It takes a lot to earn consumer trust, especially after a successful cyberattack

The majority (66 percent) of U.S. consumers would not trust a company that falls victim to a data breach with their data, and 44 percent of consumers attribute cyber incidents to a company’s lack of security measures. Interestingly, 54 percent extend a degree of leniency toward smaller brands grappling with cyberattacks, in contrast to their higher expectations for larger businesses.

These findings, coupled with the lack of awareness of how cyberattacks start, have led to reckless behavior from consumers—55 percent of respondents use their corporate devices for online shopping, inadvertently posing risks to business infrastructure. In addition, 35 percent believe it’s difficult to impersonate large e-commerce brands.

“In the current cyber landscape where most attacks start with some form of social engineering, it’s important for businesses to see their security policies through the eyes of their most vulnerable link—the employees,” said Colin Doherty, CEO at Vercara, in a news release. “It’s important to run regular awareness and training sessions not just for the IT and cyber departments, but for all employees, as even more sophisticated ransomware and DDoS attacks can be spotted sooner if everyone knows what to look out for.”

Businesses must take a proactive stance towards all cybersecurity challenges

Companies must be aware of the risks associated with using corporate devices for personal reasons to lower the risks of unpleasant surprises in the form of cyberattacks—and make sure all employees are trained in this regard. Internal awareness campaigns should be paired with regular training sessions focused on identifying phishing emails, emphasizing the profound impact a single click can have on business security.In partnership with Dynata, 

This consumer survey targeted 1,000 adults across the United States, age 18+, during November 2023. Figures for age, gender, education, income, employment and region were weighted to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. All data, unless specified otherwise, is pulled from this survey.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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