Deloitte study says consumers and executives have different impressions of corporate security.

Customers Aren’t Happy With Their Data Security. Execs Are the Only Ones Surprised.

Customers Aren’t Happy With Their Data Security. Execs Are the Only Ones Surprised.

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 24 2015 6:46 PM

Customers Aren’t Happy With Their Data Security. Execs Are the Only Ones Surprised.

exec
“These terms of service are practically a beach read!”

Image from Rudie Strummer/Shutterstock

There's always something going on with corporate data breaches or new digital security initiatives. And those things look very different to the executives who run companies than they do to the customers who use their products and services. A new study from consulting firm Deloitte illustrates in a few stark (and kind of hilarious) stats just how varied the views are.

The survey polled 2,001 American consumers and 70 consumer product executives, and the consumers were generally less positive or enthusiastic than the executives about corporate security/privacy efforts. For example, 47 percent of execs thought that customers felt it was worth it to share their personal information with companies in exchange for perks like coupons and customized promotions. But 75 percent of consumers disagreed. For product reviews, 47 percent of executives thought consumers found sharing their data worthwhile. Only 18 percent of consumers agreed. Ruh roh.

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Consumers don't always seem to know the best way to protect their digital identities and assets, but they know that they don't know. Only 28 percent of consumers surveyed said they thought they knew which companies would protect their personal data. But 83 percent did say that they're aware of retailer data breaches. Only about half said they would be forgiving if a company had a data breach.

The researchers wrote, "Our survey suggests that the field is wide open for consumer product companies to build a reputation for strong data privacy and security practices," which is really just a sneaky way of saying that not nearly enough companies are implementing best practices right now.

Probably the most revealing stat is that 77 percent of execs said they think their companies' data privacy policies are clear and easy to understand. Ha! About 73 percent of consumers said they want more straightforward data privacy policies.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.