For the last few months, I’ve been working on a fantastic project in collaboration with Palo Alto Networks, to explore levels of trust in the digital age. Working with YouGov, we surveyed over 10,000 respondents throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to find out how people feel about issues including security, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), and whether these perceptions vary between different demographic groups. The findings are fascinating, including:

  • 67% of respondents feel they are doing all they can to prevent the loss of their personal data
  • This rises to 77% in respondents ages 55 and over, and falls to 59% in 25-34-year olds
  • 77% of the UAE and France agree with this statement, while only 60% of Italy and Sweden agree
  • The perceived security of IoT is very mixed: 38% of respondents believe them to be secure, whilst only slightly more (43%) think the opposite

It is interesting to see that older participants feel a greater sense of responsibility over their data than younger participants. 54% of respondents take full responsibility for their personal data when online, but only 43% of the younger demographic (18-24 year olds) take responsibility for their own personal data compared to 58% of those aged 55 and above. There are a number of factors which could help explain this, one being that older participants are more likely to have been exposed to cybersecurity training and practices in the work environment and this could have influenced their mindset to be more security-conscious. It could also be that the younger generation is more likely to regard security as a collective responsibility, as part of a culture that is more centred on sharing.

Trust is so important in cybersecurity, as the research highlights:

  • In the UK, 48% of respondents would feel more secure when online if they knew more about how to protect themselves and their families; this falls marginally to 44.5% in EMEA as a whole (although it was still rated as the number one factor in enabling people to feel more secure when online)
  • The majority of respondents (44%) agree that cybersecurity technologies have given them a better sense of security and they can therefore spend less time worrying about data loss, versus 14% who disagree

People want to be actively engaged in better-protecting themselves and their families online, they want to know more about how to do this and they embrace technology that supports them in this.

Research like this is so important and I was delighted to work with Palo Alto Networks, a global leader in cybersecurity technology, to ask important and meaningful questions of so many people. Understanding how people feel about technology and security is the first step in ensuring that we communicate with them in the most helpful and impactful way. To find out more about the research, read what Palo Alto Networks had to say about it and check out their infographic: