More than half of UK consumers (59 per cent) worry about the risk of their details being compromised each time they input them into a business website, according to research released today by 1&1 Internet Ltd., www.1and1.co.uk, a global leader amongst web hosts. From a study of more than 1500 UK adults, 25 per cent have walked away from using or buying from a website due to fears of the level of security. The degree of consumer understanding of online dangers is high – 55 per cent of Britons recognise that threats such as malware and viruses change by the hour. Smaller businesses with a website that uses self-coding or open-source applications will benefit from being able to reassure online consumers that their website is well protected.
Today, more transactions than ever are being conducted over the Internet, requiring consumers to input sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and identifiable data. 1&1’s “Website Attitudes Study” (1) of 1551 UK consumers finds that consumers’ concern and expectations for website security are also increasing. In fact, 1 in 5 of those surveyed have either had their own, or know someone who has, had details lost or taken as a result of using a business website.
Thus, it is perhaps unsurprising that there is an impressive level of consumer awareness nowadays for protecting their data while online. Some 55 per cent of Britons understand that many websites that capture data (such as contact details or billing data) can be a target for cyber criminals, and 55 per cent recognise that threats can change by the hour.
One in four consumers (26 per cent) believe small businesses are much more of a target for malicious online activity when compared to larger stores. The concern, while perhaps off the radar of many small companies, is clearly inhibiting many consumers from fully supporting British small businesses. In fact, only 11 per cent believe SMEs are fully protected online. Such an understanding clearly impacts consumer behaviour, with 25 per cent having abandoned an online transaction or enquiry because they were worried about the security of their data. Some 46 per cent admit they are likely to spend more with a business that shows that it takes steps to enhance website security.
The study also took a measure on what actions consumers would take should their personal data ever be compromised from a business website. Unsurprisingly, most expect to feel distressed and highly negative about a company as a result. Some 54 per cent expect to never use that company again, whilst 62 per cent of consumers anticipate sharing their experience with others, 21 per cent willing to report it to the press, and 28 per cent being likely to explore legal action against the business involved. There is clearly much potential for costly and long lasting damage to a business’s hard-earned revenue and brand reputation.
As the majority of business websites now capture users’ data, every business on the Internet needs protection. The use of open-source applications and self-coding can allow much customisation for designs, however, security can be an issue. While websites built with vendor-managed templates, such as 1&1 MyWebsite, involve very little risk of being compromised by malicious activity, as they leverage a professional system to create, update and protect the design, self-coded websites carry more risk. Mistakes as simple as forgetting to close parentheses when entering code, or not applying updates to open-source applications can help facilitate malicious activity from hackers. Thanks to a new service provided by 1&1 together with SiteLock, better protection is now easily available for such self-coded websites.
With the new feature from SiteLock (www.sitelock.com), 1&1 customers can scan their website for design vulnerabilities and stay informed about their online security levels. 1&1 now provides this security service with 1&1 SiteLock Basic priced at £0.99/month+VAT, and 1&1 SiteLock Premium priced at £4.99/month+VAT. 1&1 SiteLock also comes with a shield icon that is displayed on the business’s website, showing hackers and customers alike that this site is protected.
As a global leader amongst Web hosts, 1&1 is well placed to deliver a high quality service to its customers. The company currently holds over 11 million customer contracts worldwide and manages 11 million domain names. For more information about 1&1 as well as the new Sitelock feature visit the website at www.1and1.co.uk.
(1) 1551 UK adults surveyed by OpinionMatters via electronic feedback form