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Half of IT professionals question the safety of their personal data

January 16, 2018

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IT decision makers across Europe are worried about how many organisations can access their personal data and have low levels of trust in the IT security capabilities of their industry peers. These are key findings from Kaspersky Lab’s study, “From overwhelmed to empowered, the IT department’s journey towards good data health”, which reveals that only half (55 per cent) of IT professionals have faith that other organisations are looking after their personal data properly. This shows an alarmingly low level of trust from a security savvy audience, at a time when personal data protection is coming under increased scrutiny.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming enforceable in around six months (in May 2018), Kaspersky Lab undertook the study to find out more about the pressures IT decision makers are under to get data protection right, and their abilities to do so.

The Europe-wide survey of technology professionals uncovered strong personal feelings about data protection that raise question marks over how organisations commonly deal with the personal data in their care. Despite a large majority of respondents (73 per cent) saying that the security of their private data is important, two-thirds (64 per cent) are worried about how many organisations have access to their personal information. Even more (67 per cent) are concerned about their personal information being hacked into.

IT decision makers are more likely to be aware of the dangers to personal data, because they see how it is being treated on a day-to-day basis – giving significant weight to any concerns they might have. The research found that one-in-three (32 per cent) are not confident that their own organisation can successfully demonstrate how, and from where, the personal data it holds is sourced – which could have severe consequences under the terms of the GDPR. This lack of faith in good data governance also makes IT decision makers worried about the fate of their own data, in the hands of other organisations, and harbours fears around loss or hacking.

Despite this, some parts of Europe show higher levels of trust and confidence among IT professionals than others. For example, three-quarters (76 per cent) of IT decision makers in France trust organisations to protect their data. This is compared to 56 per cent in the UK and just 48 per cent in Germany.

“Given they deal with the challenges of data security as part of their daily role, it is perhaps no surprise that IT professionals feel strongly about personal data protection. They see threats from all directions and are acutely aware of the repercussions of a security breach,” commented Adam Maskatiya, general manager at Kaspersky Lab UK.

“However, it is concerning to see that their experiences have led to them losing faith in organisations and their peers. This clearly indicates that there is a long way to go before businesses are actually treating the data in their care with the respect it deserves – and before the GDPR deadline hits.”

The study questioned over 2,000 IT decision makers in organisations with more than 50 employees. The research was conducted in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

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