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Internet Confidence Index Shows That – for Businesses and Consumers – Transactions are Outpacing Trust

  • 15 February, 2006 11:30

<p>The first Internet Confidence Index designed to measure changes in US and European confidence in secure online transactions among consumers and businesses – and gauge growth in the frequency and value of online transactions – was announced today by RSA Security.</p>
<p>The annual Index, based on data gathered from business and consumer audiences in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France will serve over time as a regular barometer of market confidence in e-commerce.</p>
<p>The first iteration of the Index reveals that the willingness to transact online is outpacing trust in the medium: both businesses and consumers are taking risks in order to reap the benefits of online transactions.</p>
<p>In the business community, a moderate assumption of risk is reflected in a Security index score of 22 that is substantially lower than the Transaction index score of 55. Both metrics are evaluated on a scale of -100 to +100, indicating the range of ‘least to greatest’ security and ‘declining to increasing’ transactions.</p>
<p>Among consumers, a similar assumption of risk is demonstrated in the Security index score of 5 relative to a Transaction index score of 37. While both metrics are lower for consumers, the gap between security and transactions is roughly the same as found among businesses.</p>
<p>“It is not surprising that business users feel more secure online than consumers, with an array of firewalls and other defensive measures in place around them, but it is astonishing to see the extent to which both groups are willing to assume some level of risk in their transactions,” said Art Coviello, president and CEO of RSA Security. “In the pursuit of convenience and cost-savings, businesses and their customers are knowingly making themselves more vulnerable to identity theft. The message here is that security is failing to keep pace with what end-users wish to do online.”</p>
<p>The Index confirms that the volume of online transactions is growing in all the countries surveyed – just 1% of businesses said that they were doing fewer online transactions today than 12 months ago – and that they are an increasingly critical source of revenue and sales for the business community. The United States leads the way here: 62% of US businesses reported that their online dealings accounted for higher dollar amounts than at the same point 12 months ago, compared with 49% in both the UK and in France. In Germany, however, the pace of growth in the value of transactions is more cautious: 34% reported an increase in the overall value, but 52% estimated that there had been no change in this area over the past year.</p>
<p>A reason for this was identified when businesses were polled on the perceived security of their online transactions. On average, 86% of American, British and French companies consider that their online dealings are ‘quite’, ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ secure, but the figure in Germany – 64% – was markedly lower.</p>
<p>However, the survey uncovered a distinct confidence gap in the United States: American businesses and consumers are far more concerned than Europeans about network vulnerability and third parties fraudulently accessing information. 67% of US businesses reported degrees of concern about the vulnerability of their networks, much higher than the European average of 37%. And almost half of US consumers stated that that they have little or no confidence that several groups are taking the necessary steps to secure personal data. This concern is accentuated by additional findings that:</p>
<p>• Businesses are more likely to experience cyber-crime in the US than in Europe: eleven different categories of online crime were presented to respondents, and in all but two categories significantly more businesses in the US reported experience of such crimes (once or on a recurring basis) than in all other countries</p>
<p>• Nine out of ten US consumers are familiar with identity theft, but knowledge of this danger is much lower in France and Germany, where approximately one in three consumers are still unfamiliar with the concept</p>
<p>“In two key areas, the crisis of confidence is most pronounced in the United States, and this may be a direct result of the many high profile cases of data theft and online fraud in the US during the past year,” continued Mr. Coviello. “That said, in spite of their fears, businesses and consumers everywhere continue to do more – and spend more – online. Both sides share ownership of responsibility in bringing security into line with expectations, with further assistance from government and industry.”</p>
<p>When questioned about this responsibility, consumers made it clear that they believe that their e-tailers and banks are the entities responsible when it comes to protecting personal data and, crucially, reimbursing customers when things go wrong. On the business side, however, just 26% consider their organisation to be the most responsible entity for protecting private information during a transaction. And this sense of responsibility is most common in the US and UK; by contrast, German companies share the responsibility between themselves and banks/credit card companies, while French organisations stand alone in considering outside entities to be more responsible for protecting confidential information.</p>
<p>Other key findings from the survey:</p>
<p>• Online transactions generate an average of 35% of revenue/sales or fees for businesses in the US and Europe</p>
<p>• 75% of business respondents indicate that their organisation has done more online transactions over the last year and only 1% indicate a decline</p>
<p>• 53% of business respondents report that transactions have increased in value over the last year</p>
<p>• While 49% of respondents feel that confidential information is most vulnerable to theft or misuse during transmission of information, 27% of businesses cite their organisation’s network as a point of vulnerability</p>
<p>• Business respondents tend to feel some degree of vulnerability exists in all of the applications that were tested in the survey, but email is considered slightly more vulnerable than other applications</p>
<p>Survey Methodology</p>
<p>The 39 question survey, focused on the issues of confidence and trust in secure online transactions, was conducted online with 601 business respondents and 603 consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France. The data was gathered in September and December 2005 by Momentum Research Group.</p>
<p>About RSA Security Inc.</p>
<p>RSA Security Inc. is the expert in protecting online identities and digital assets. The inventor of core security technologies for the Internet, the company sets the standard in strong authentication and encryption, bringing trust to millions of user identities and the transactions that they perform. RSA Security’s portfolio of award-winning identity &amp; access management solutions helps businesses to establish who’s who online – and what they can do.</p>
<p>With a strong reputation built on a 20-year history of ingenuity, leadership and proven technologies, we serve approximately 20,000 customers around the globe and interoperate with more than 1,000 technology and integration partners. For more information, please visit</p>
<p>About Momentum Research Group
The Momentum Research Group is a research consultancy that uses quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to not only inform its clients, but also enhance their market profile. MRG has been recognised for their development of thought provoking research on topics, such as the macroeconomic impact of Internet technology on the United States’ and other economies (e.g. Internet Economy Indicators and Net Impact</p>
<p>Since its inception, MRG has had the pleasure of conducting such innovative research for a number of clients including AMD, Autodesk, Cadence, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, Sun Microsystems and Sybase. For more information, go to</p>
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<p>RSA and RSA Security are either registered trademarks or trademarks of RSA Security Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other products and services mentioned are trademarks of their respective companies.</p>
<p>Media Contacts
John Back, Kinetics Pty Ltd, (02) 9212 3848,
Melinda Hickin, RSA Security Australia Pty Ltd, (02) 9463-8407,</p>

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