The majority of customers (69 per cent) would boycott a company if it showed a lack of concern about protecting their data.

This is according to a YouGov poll, commissioned by RSA Security, the survey found that 90 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about their personal data being lost, manipulated or stolen.

However, nearly half (46 per cent) said they feel like they have no choice but to give companies their personal data to obtain products and services.

A further 78 per cent of respondents said company reputation related to its handling of customer data affected their buying decisions. This reflects how companies can suffer long-term when they fail to protect their customers’ sensitive information.

The biggest data security concerns were monetary theft (74 per cent), identity theft (70 per cent) and having embarrassing or sensitive information made public (45 per cent). In addition, more than a third (36 per cent) admitted that they fear being blackmailed with stolen private images or messages.

YouGov also found that 90 per cent of consumers are concerned about their private information being lost, stolen or manipulated.

Rashmi Knowles, RSA Security European field chief technology officer, said: “As milestone regulation, such as GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation], comes into effect this year, data security and privacy are hot on the agenda for consumers and companies alike.”

She added: “With more than half (54 per cent) of respondents less likely to buy from a company they know has been mishandling data, and 62 per cent inclined to blame the company above anyone else if data is lost, it’s clear consumers are ready to vote with their feet against organisations that fall short of their expectations.”

Ms Knowles warned companies that the financial and reputational damage of a data breach in 2018 “could be devastating”.

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