Utimaco, a leading global provider of IT security solutions, has released a new whitepaper, ‘Circles of Trust: How the UK Public Perceives Digital Risk’ which uncovers how internet users in the UK, and their counterparts in Germany and Spain, perceive safety in the digital ecosystem.
The report finds a central paradox at the heart of an increasingly online society: the majority of people are very enthusiastic about digital services but also deeply concerned about their safety when using them. This presents a problem for digital service providers, whether they are in the public or private sector, and especially for governments like the UK’s, which aim to increase efficiency and inclusion through transitioning more services online.
One of the key findings is that 70% of surveyed respondents, representing internet users from across the UK, either worry a lot or a little about their security when using digital services. Only 10% don’t worry at all. This is despite only 15% of respondents answering that they had been harmed in some way by identity theft, data loss or fraud. This distrust increases as respondents aged, and there were significant differences between the answers of respondents from different parts of the country. 22% of respondents from London answered that they ‘worry a lot’ about their security, compared to 11% in the East of England. There were also disparities between respondents with different educational backgrounds, with people with the most and least educational attainment perceiving the greatest risk.
Similar stories emerged when respondents were asked about digital healthcare and government services. 63% of respondents said that given the choice they would use digital services to access healthcare when possible, and 46% consider the information that they send to their healthcare provider to be secure, a far higher level of confidence than most people had in digital security in general. This is likely to be explainable by the high level of public trust in the NHS as an institution rather than specific knowledge of its security. This seems to be the case with responses to questions of trust in other parts of the public sector, which are significantly lower.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to show our current and future customers how the cybersecurity solutions that they are putting in place are perceived by the general public,” says Ansgar Steden, Chief Revenue Officer at Utimaco. “The next-generation security solutions that Utimaco provides are only part of the puzzle: bulletproof security is only effective when it is perceived to be so by users, so as the report identifies, companies need to be able to combine security with communicating with users about how they are keeping them safe.”