In a warning to New Zealand organisations holding sensitive data, a national survey from Unisys finds the majority of New Zealanders are equally concerned about both accidental breaches and malicious data theft.
The national study, part of the broader Unisys Security Index research program, surveyed 511 adults aged 18+ between 11–17 March, 2014 and was conducted by Consumer Link. The survey asked if respondents were more concerned about accidental data breaches or malicious and criminal attacks, depending on whether an organisation stored data in New Zealand or overseas.
The majority of respondents said they are equally concerned about both types of data breaches for both data stored in New Zealand (55 percent) or off-shore (63 percent).
In addition, the Unisys Security Index found that the top two areas of security concern for New Zealanders, consistent since the study began in 2006, are related to data security: unauthorised access to personal information and other people obtaining/using credit card details, with 62 percent of New Zealanders extremely or very concerned about both issues.
“The results show that a majority of New Zealanders are concerned about both accidental and malicious/criminal data breaches – regardless of whether the data is stored in-country or overseas,” said Mr John Kendall, security program director for Unisys Asia Pacific. “Therefore organisations need to take a holistic approach to data security that goes beyond traditional perimeter security and addresses potential accidental and deliberate threats within the organisation. In effect, the internal environment must be treated as ‘hostile territory’, in the same way that we must guard against external attacks.”
New Zealanders who are concerned primarily about malicious or criminal data breaches believe the risk is essentially the same for data kept in New Zealand (12 percent concerned) as for data stored in another country (13 percent concerned).
“Surprisingly, New Zealanders who are primarily concerned about accidental data breaches believe the risk is greater for organisations that store data in New Zealand (11 percent concerned) than for organisations that store data overseas (5 percent concerned). This result likely reflects the several well-publicised data breaches in New Zealand over the last couple of years that have eroded the public’s confidence in the steps taken by some local organisations to protect their data,” Mr Kendall said.
“New Zealand organisations need to rebuild trust with the customers and citizens they deal with by building confidence that sensitive data is being adequately protected – not just from malicious attacks but also from human and computer error,” Mr Kendall said.