Accenture study finds most Americans want agencies with stronger cybersecurity

April 11, 2017 - 

Accenture recently commissioned Market Strategy Group to conduct a survey intended to assess citizen expectations and attitudes regarding cybersecurity and how government can better protect citizens’ personal digital data.

The study found that 79 percent of U.S. citizens are concerned about the privacy and security of their personal digital data, and 63 percent say they would feel more confident if the government agencies and service providers with which they interact had stronger data-privacy and security policies.

The survey found that 74 percent of citizens lack confidence in government’s ability to keep their data private and secure, while 65 percent lack confidence in the ability of law-enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cybercrimes.

“This survey confirms that ‘cyber insecurity’ is pervasive, with citizens feeling concerned and vulnerable,” said Lalit Ahluwalia, who leads Accenture’s security work with state and local government clients in North America. “All organizations must make cybersecurity a top priority and move to deploy end-end cyber defense solutions to combat threats to data, and to ensure citizen confidence when engaging with government agencies.”

In addition, the study found that 66 percent of respondents said they would be willing to sacrifice convenience for increased data security, 60 percent would answer additional login questions, and 47 percent would support the use of biometric technologies to verify identity and secure access.

Citizens are also seeking new security services that agencies could adopt to improve their data privacy and security measures, with 85 percent of respondents wanting agencies to offer a secure digital identity, 82 percent said they want regular security assessments, and 85 percent introducing new cyber defense services to improve their confidence in the privacy and security of their data.

The study also showed that respondents do not perceive an increased threat related to government-held data, with 79 percent believing that their data is as secure or more secure with government as with commercial organizations.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said that increased data-security measures would increase their satisfaction with government agencies, 58 percent said that improved data-security measures would increase their willingness to interact with government agencies, and 57 percent said these security measures would boost their confidence and trust in government agencies.

The study results were based on an online survey of 3,469 nearly 3,500 U.S. citizens conducted in September and October 2016. The results had an overall margin of error of ± 2 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence.

Accenture and Oxford Economics analyzed the findings to develop the Accenture Security Index, which compared the relative strength of organizations to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

Earlier this year Accenture published its “Emerging Technologies in Public Service” report which explores the adoption of emerging technologies across agencies tasked with providing citizen-facing services.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.