25% of Europeans hold back personal information due to security concerns

For years, the tech industry has under-invested in security and now it might be about to hit executives in the place it hurts; the wallet.

Interestingly enough, those who are at greatest risk here are the creative thinkers who have figured out how to make money from the free-flowing data-sharing economy. It is the 21st century’s version of turning water into wine, making money off users without charging them anything, but it appears there are issues.

According to Eurostat, the office for statistics in the European Commission, 25% of Europeans have avoided handing over personal information because of security concerns, while 44% have limited their private internet activities in the last 12 months.

The investments behind security present an interesting conundrum for businesses. Firstly, security investment have to be made, but as this has been deemed a ‘cost centre’ as opposed to directly driving revenues towards the profit columns, they have been limited. This is a cynical viewpoint to hold, but we wouldn’t be talking about underinvestment in security if investment wasn’t being directed elsewhere.

The most interesting talking point to take away from these statistics is that there now is a business case. Users won’t use your services unless security can be demonstrated. It is a direct tie to the bottom line, which should theoretically increase the flow of investment towards security products and initiatives. We might get to that wonderful environment were security is not considered an afterthought.

One question which remains is whether this is too little too late.

Some companies have been investing in security for years. Some have been able to steer clear of the privacy scandals and data breaches. Some can prove their security credentials to customers today. These look like very attractive businesses to the growing number of security conscious customers.

Perhaps one of the reasons people are becoming more security conscious is the element of danger. In bygone years, it was difficult to communicate the dangers of the internet to users because there weren’t enough examples of real-world consequence. A company lost X amount of personal information, but what is the direct impact on my life? Because it is not as apparent, people generally undervalue the danger. This might be changing.

According to the Eurostat figures, 1% of the European Union population experienced financial loss resulting from identity theft, fraudulent messages or redirection to fake websites. That is just over 5 million people who were financial impacted by the dangers of the interest inside 2019 alone.

When customers start to see the digital economy as a threat to their bank account, which is becoming more common today, they will start paying more attention to security credentials.

What services were avoided due to security concerns
Service Percentage
Social or professional networking 25%
Public wifi 19%
Downloading content 17%
eCommerce 16%
Internet banking 13%
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