Study exposes gulf between commercialisation and security of consumer data

Study exposes gulf in focus between commercialisation and security of consumer data

New research has shone a light on the varying degrees of enthusiasm shown by business leaders to the control of data, with a strong appetite to pursue commercial advantage from information under their control contrasted with an anaemic approach to security.

The survey of 300 global managers and directors working in marketing, advertising, marketing and IT showed 77% of respondents in the UK and 93% in the US view data as ‘very important’ to the growth of their business, views somewhat at odds with that fact that over a third of those quizzed reported that the curation of data was easy to manage.

Asked who ultimately owned the data under their care, 68% believed it was the property of their company with just a third stating that it remained under ownership of the individual, illustrating that communication of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations still has a way to travel.

While marketers have been waxing lyrical about the importance of data, the research showed that it is generally the IT function, rather than an insights team, responsible for looking after it. A third of managers globally stated that the head of IT is responsible for data within their organisation and in every region it is far more likely for the head of IT to be nominated as the person responsible for data, rather than the head of insights/research.

ESOMAR, which conducted the survey in partnership with Kadence International, said: “Worryingly, considering the introduction of GDPR, the study signposts some key concerns regarding data protection and privacy, suggesting that there are still fundamental gaps/misunderstandings as to who owns the data once it’s collected, how it is shared inside and outside of an organisation, and how it should be protected.”

Half of those polled considered that their businesses were too free and easy with whom they shared data internally while 54% in the UK and 67% in the US concurred that data was shared too readily with third-parties.

ESOMAR concluded: "In light of the recent scandals involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, the study suggests that a huge amount of education needs to be done in the broader marketing, advertising and IT industries or we will surely see further scandals in the near future."

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