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APAC consumers not taking ownership of their data, study finds

The majority of consumers in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region expect businesses or governments to protect their data, according to a new F5 research report titled Curve of Convenience 2020: The Privacy-Convenience Paradox.

In the report, F5 looks at application users in APAC and finds that 43% of consumers expect businesses to protect their data, while another 32% believe it’s the responsibility of the government. Only 25% believe it is the users’ responsibility to protect their own data.

Similar sentiment is reflected in Australia, as 39% feel responsibility should lie with businesses, 35% with the government and 26% believe the responsibility lies with themselves.

Meanwhile, more than nine in 10 (96%) consumers say they would choose convenience and frictionless or seamless application user experiences over security. Furthermore, 69% of APAC users, on average, are choosing to give up their privacy to gain better experiences.

Respondents from China (82%), India (79%) and Indonesia (79%) are the most willing to share their data, with respondents from Japan (43%), Australia (50%) and Singapore (58%) being the least likely to trade data for more seamless experiences.

More than a quarter of users are unaware of breaches. 27% of respondents in APAC indicated that they were not even aware of the breaches despite hacks that affected government bodies or high-use applications.

Today’s users frequently choose frictionless experiences over security, but they still expect the organisations to safeguard their data, F5 states.

In fact, only 4% of respondents stopped using an application as a result of a breach, however, their trust in an organisation’s abilities to protect their data is waning across the board, with social media companies witnessing the steepest drop in trust by 19-percentage points.

F5 regional vice president Australia and New Zealand Jason Baden says, “As COVID-19 reshapes our lives locally and around the world, businesses are ramping up digital transformation efforts to address the increased consumer demand for applications used to work, connect and entertain.

“In terms of importance, our research revealed that 40% of Australians are prioritising their security, with 60% choosing convenience. But to truly integrate both elements, businesses should proactively involve consumers across the development of the applications, and not only at the end.

"To contend with the increase in both application consumption, and security vulnerabilities, collaboration is absolutely key."

According to F5, these findings reveal the balancing act between security and convenience that businesses and governments are being held responsible for.

Today’s challenging environment, especially in the face of COVID-19 and corresponding changes in digital habits, has left many systems and users exposed, pressuring businesses and governments to fortify their security frameworks and further tighten regulations and compliance policies, F5 states.

To remain competitive under these circumstances, businesses must consistently deliver unique, high-performing, and secure digital experiences, all while adhering to complex compliance and security requirements as well as ensuring a convenient, frictionless, and user-friendly experience.

To help achieve this goal, businesses should view customers as allies, working towards the common goal for a user-friendly and secure digital experience, F5 states.

Users, if armed with the right information, can increase vigilance when sharing their data, or even demand for more transparency on how their data will be used, the researchers state.

Even when consumers choose to cede responsibility for their digital safety, it is critical that these organisations continue to educate and partner with users about the consequences of their choices to trade data or privacy to gain more seamless experiences, F5 states.

With this partnership in place, organisations across the board can further utilise next-level technology solutions to implement robust security postures while also delivering the frictionless experiences that consumers have come to expect.

Baden says, “Partnering with consumers will allow the industry to thrive, and businesses, together with their digital partners, can create better solutions that deliver seamless yet secure experiences, any time, all the time. Bringing customers along the journey will help them feel invested in their own protection.”