Giles Sutherland, VP Business Development, Verification, Interac, was available to speak with us about the most intriguing findings from Interac’s recent research on data privacy, the changes that data privacy has undergone recently, the upcoming big trend in this field, steps that need to be taken to increase Canadians’ sense of security regarding their online privacy, and his advice for companies looking to adopt more robust security measures for their online platforms.
Interac is encouraging organizations to reflect on their practices and improve their understanding of consumer attitudes toward privacy.
What are the most interesting findings from Interac’s new research on data privacy? What implications do these findings have for businesses?
The majority of our lives are conducted online. In a recent survey by Interac Corp., Canadians told us that control of personal information online is top of mind. According to the survey, nearly eight in 10 Canadians (76 per cent) are worried about protecting their online privacy and seven in 10 Canadians (74 per cent) want more control over their online information.
Of particular interest, the survey uncovered that more than half of Canadians (53 per cent) believe organizations are primarily responsible for protecting their online personal information and nearly seven in ten of them (69 per cent) would hold a company accountable in the event of a data breach.
The results demonstrate how imperative it is for companies to provide clear guidelines on how personal information belonging to customers is managed and protected.
How has data privacy changed in recent years, and what do you think will be the next big trend in this area?
Our lives and activity have shifted online now more than ever before. As this transformation continues to progress, Canadians are increasingly relying on technology to access new government and business services. In fact, our survey showed that nearly seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) expect to be able to access all government services online.
Accessing these services means that Canadians are regularly exchanging critical information as part of their daily lives. As consumer behaviors and expectations continue to progress, so too does security to help protect the personal information of Canadians who want to transact in the digital economy.
This shows us there’s a clear need for authentication options in both the private and public sector that can protect that personal information in a future that is only expected to involve more time online.
What do you think needs to happen for Canadians to feel more secure about their online privacy?
When Canadians sign in to any online service, they’re putting their trust into that provider to keep their data safe. However, there are many concerns that Canadians face when it comes to their personal information.
Our research shows that nearly seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) worry about how their personal information is being sold or transferred without their consent and that only six per cent of Canadians feel their personal information is being used for its intended purpose. Instead, most feel it’s being used for nefarious reasons like tracking their location (58 per cent), manipulating their beliefs (32 per cent), and stealing their identity (31 per cent).
These findings show us how critical the initial moment of sign-in and verifying your information is – especially for businesses and organizations to build trust with their customers. Verification solutions available to adopt today can empower Canadians to take advantage of convenient digital services, supported by trusted authentication that allow them to maintain control over their personal information, including who can access it, and when.
Education is also critical. Seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) revealed they would like more information to be readily available about how to protect their online information. What’s more, only a third (33 per cent) admit they know what to do if their personal information or data is stolen online.
What are the benefits of implementing more secure sign-in services for firms? Do you think providing more secure sign-in services will help combat fraud and cybercrime?
Implementing more secure authentication and verification services, such as at the moment of sign-in, will allow customers to feel more in control of who and where they put their data. With so many Canadians (76 per cent) worried about protecting their online privacy, the moment of user sign-in is of utmost importance to build that trust with the customers they serve. Verification services can be a key enabler to a more trustworthy digital experience to help keep Canadians safe and secure when transacting online, while also automating processes to help businesses better manage sensitive information.
Through the research we conducted, we learned that Canadians are holding organizations accountable for the use and storage of their data, as well as putting their trust to keep it safe. Enhancing security, control, and online safety at the moment of sign-in will not only help build trust but can help mitigate outside threats and reduce the cost of fraud through identity theft.
What advice would you give to businesses that are looking to adopt stronger security measures for their online platforms?
Because there’s a need for verification options that protect personal information, this should be top of mind. An example of such a solution is the Interac sign-in service, helping users leverage their existing online banking information to access any participating private sector and government services. This is done instead of having to create a new username and password. Our research found that almost half of Canadians (49 per cent) are in support of using their financial institution login credentials to authenticate themselves during the sign-in process.
Another common but critical way to help adopt strong security measures is to include prompts at the beginning of the customer sign-in experience. Canadians should be reminded to create strong passwords avoiding common words or numbers, and ensure passwords are complex and changed frequently.