Recently, Varonis Systems commented on a Ponemon Report that underscored the dissatisfaction that customers have for companies they deal with that have had recent data breach issues.
Worse yet, it also highlights the fact that customers are much less likely to do business with companies incurring data breaches in the time following those events.
The Ponemon Report detailed that 72 percent of customers who have been told about a data breach at a company they do business with were "dissatisfied with the communication." This is actually a substantial improvement on the part of the companies themselves, as seven years ago only 12 percent of respondents in a similar survey said they received any notice at all, compared to about 25 percent today who said they had.
Still, there is a wide gap between companies and customers when it comes to information about data breaches, and Varonis credits much of the increase in customer contact not to a shift in feeling at the organizational level, but rather due to requirements of law in the United States.
"This really is an unsatisfactory state of affairs," said Varonis Systems' VP of strategy. He went on to issue what may very well prove to be the most telling, and the most chilling, remark in his commentary: "Many of the 72 percent of consumers who had been informed – but were dissatisfied –are almost certain to be shopping elsewhere in future."
Both Varonis Systems' VP and Experian, who sponsored the Ponemon Institute (News - Alert) report, believe companies need to do everything possible to prevent data breaches in the first place. Both also seem to be in agreement that when breaches do happen, customers should be notified of the matter quickly and effectively, so they take the steps necessary to treat the issue.
Considering the marked likelihood that customers will leave in the event of a data breach, it's easy to see why companies are squeamish about notifying their customers, but as per the case in the Ponemon Institute report, most customers are dissatisfied with the communication, not so much that there was a data breach in the first place.
With unstructured data growing at dizzying rates, however – reaching levels of 80 percent in many organizations – the issue of protecting data continues to be the most vital point. Though when breaches do occur, communication about those breaches, and about what risks the customer now faces as a result and what the company is doing to mitigate and remedy those risks, is the most important step of all
Edited by Braden Becker