Protect The Data, Keep The Customer

Protecting customer data is growing in importance for businesses around the world
Protecting customer data is growing in importance for businesses around the world. The results of the InformationWeek 2003 Global Information Security Survey show that businesses are increasing their efforts to protect customer privacy.

Customer AssurancesThree-quarters of the 2,500 business-technology and security professionals surveyed say they're informing employees of their company's standards for protecting customer data, up from 68% last year. Another 53% are using secure Web transactions to protect customer data, compared with 49% in 2002. About 47% are encrypting transmitted communications, a jump from 35% last year. And 29% have created a chief privacy officer position or hired a data-protection consultant, up from 13% a year ago.

Data-protection practices vary from region to region. While 58% of the 885 sites surveyed in North America post a privacy policy on their Web sites, that practice is less common elsewhere: 51% of 184 Asia-Pacific sites, 37% of 1,158 European sites, and 27% of 201 South American sites.

There also are regional differences in the use of encryption for securing Web transactions. Some 60% of North American sites encrypt Web transactions, while only half of European sites, 49% of Asia-Pacific sites, and 43% of South American sites do so. Fewer than a third of the sites in all regions encrypt data stores, ranging from a high of 30% in Europe to a low of 23% in South America.

Businesses that don't protect customer data may find that they lose their customers along with the data. What's your company doing to ensure that its customer information is safe? Let us know at the address below.

Paul Travis
Senior News Editor
[email protected]

Outside HelpOutside Help

Do your company's customer-data-privacy safeguards include the use of privacy consultants?

Some of the toughest data-privacy rules have been imposed in Europe, which may explain why more European companies participating in the InformationWeek 2003 Global Information Security Survey use consultants than firms in other regions of the world. Some 29% of the European companies use privacy consultants. In South America, it's 25%. It drops to 15% in the Asia-Pacific region and 10% in North America, where the rules are less strict.

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