Australians care a great deal about what companies do with their data, according to new research that reveals consumer trust is built on service reliability, strong security, and good data handling practices.

More cautious online than ever online, nearly one in seven Australians now say they do not trust any digital channel to safely handle their data, according to a report by Okta.

The enterprise identity service provider polled 13,000 office workers around the world, including over 1,000 in Australia for its State of Digital Trust report.

The results suggest Australians are hard to win over and show they care more about the fundamentals of online security than the flashy interfaces and “experiences” trumpeted by brands.

Government websites, for example, are far from renowned for their user experience but are the most trusted online channel by Australians, followed by websites used for work, accordion to Okta’s poll. Social media meanwhile is trusted by just five per cent of those polled.

Changing attitudes

While Australian businesses have accelerated their digital initiatives to meet newly online customers in 2020, they are being greeted by Australian consumers cautious of the cyber threats that come with the landscape.

Okta’s report shows Australian consumers have become increasingly cautious online. 57 per cent of those surveyed say they have become more cautious about providing personal information about themselves online during a time when working from home, data branches and misinformation has become more common.

And trust translates to the checkout, according to the report, which shows 77 per cent of Australians would be unlikely to purchase from a company they didn’t trust.

The main reasons Australians lose trust in brands, according to the report, is knowing they were intentionally misusing or selling personal data (44 per cent) and organisations suffering a data breach (16 per cent).

“This new report from Okta shows that, while digital transformation has been critical to helping businesses stay afloat after the COVID-19 pandemic, trust has become an essential commodity in mitigating risk and driving value for all,” said Graham Sowden, general manager APAC at Okta. 

“As cyber scams and data breaches continue to make headlines, the Australian public is becoming increasingly wary of risks to data privacy and security. Digital brands must be responsible stewards of customer data in order to nurture trust, and drive loyalty and success. The first step towards building digital trust is establishing effective security tools and policies.”

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