The Ramifications of a Security Breach

New Study Finds that Two Thirds of U.S. Adults Would Not Return to a Business Where Their Personal Information was Stolen. From hackers to stolen laptops, security breaches have been on the rise.  While most businesses are aware of the dangers associated with potential security breaches, few truly understand the full ramifications.  Calculating the time and money spent on investigations and notifications is fairly straight forward but measuring the damage to a company’s reputation or customer confidence is more complicated.  A recent survey sponsored by Cintas is helping to shed some light on this issue.  An online survey of 2,061 U.S. adults ages 18 and older was conducted by Harris Interactive in August of this year and the results are surprising.  Nearly two thirds of the participants indicated that they would not return to a business where their personal information was stolen.  For specific types of businesses:

-- 55 percent would change banks

-- 46 percent would switch insurance companies

-- 42 percent would go to a different drug store/pharmacy

-- 40 percent would get a new doctor or dentist

-- 39 percent would get a new lawyer

-- 38 percent would donate to a different charity/non-profit organization

-- 35 percent would not return to their hospital

-- 24 percent would no longer donate to their alma mater or another educational institution they attended.

It should be noted that the discrepancy between the two-thirds rate and the industry-specific rates suggest that while consumers are concerned about security breaches on a whole, there is a certain amount of customer loyalty maintaining the relationship.  As expected, that loyalty is strongest with educational institutions and charities but weakest with banks and insurance companies.  Nevertheless, the survey results indicate that loyalty will only get you so far and that businesses should be proactive in safeguarding confidential information.