Analysis by open source software provider SUSE showed 49 per cent of UK respondents take into account the digital credentials of a company before entering a professional relationship with them, while 62 per cent worry about how companies might be using the data they gather.

Furthermore, 71 per cent said they aren’t sure what type of information businesses can collect about them, suggesting company policies on data usage may not currently be clear enough.

SUSE spokesperson Matt Eckersall said the prospect of failing to win business because of a poor security reputation demonstrates that it has never been more important for companies to show they are respecting the views and privacy of their customers.

“Security is complex and not something that can be addressed with a single silver bullet. Yet with the correct infrastructure in place, companies can achieve regulatory compliance and ensure customer trust in their brand is not damaged by either cyber security concerns or a lack of transparency around data storage and use,” he added.

The news follows a statistical report from the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport entitled Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019, which found 32 per cent of businesses have experienced a data breach in the past 12 months.

Most commonly, these came about from phishing, but malicious impersonation, malware and spyware were other common methods of soliciting information or money.

For 48 per cent, there had been at least one breach or attack per month, while 19 per cent reported cyber security incidents stopping staff from going about their daily jobs.

On average, the cost of lost data or assets for each incident was £4,180, meaning the annual cost of cyber crime in Britain has now reached an estimated £21 billion.

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