Office workers walk out for a lunch break at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)

Data protection is vital: 85% of Singaporeans concerned about how companies use their data

  • Singaporeans are worried about how their personal data is managed and protected in this new era of distributed work.
  • More Singaporeans now claim to be well aware of the laws that protect their data privacy.

Hackers and other bad actors frequently target businesses of all sizes to steal sensitive data. With the amount of data being generated and stored, the significance of data protection grows along as well. Cyberattacks and data breaches can have catastrophic damages. Therefore, organizations must proactively protect their data and frequently update their security protocols.

Particularly for Singapore, where firms suffer an average of 54 security incidents per day, the threats are expanding rapidly, and 62% of cybersecurity experts feel it’s hard to keep up.

The nation is no stranger to this. Since the start of the pandemic, Singaporeans have demonstrated a growing concern over privacy and the protection of personal data. The latest OpenText survey revealed a general need for more understanding about what specific data is saved and why, as well as a lack of confidence in how businesses manage and store that data.

The secret to regaining that trust is improved information governance and protection, which combines a strong enterprise information management strategy with multi-layered security and data protection that offers greater certainty and produces an information advantage.

The rising concern due to government’s digital solution

Singaporeans are becoming more wary of those who have access to their personal data because pandemic life over the past few years has also seen a widespread adoption of remote working, a general shift to doing daily tasks online, and the government roll-out of digital solutions like Singapore TraceTogether. So much so that 85% of people believe they now have new concerns about how organizations are handling their data since the outbreak. 

These concerns are so strong that two in five (39%) say they would stop using or purchasing from a company they had previously been loyal to if it leaked or failed to protect their personal data. Additionally, seven in ten (69%) say they would be willing to pay more to use or purchase from a company that protected personal data.

A new normal data protection concern

As the world begins to recover from the global health crisis, Singaporeans are growing more concerned about how their data is being managed and protected in this new normal. In fact, firms that use distributed work models are causing nine out of ten people (89%) more anxiety about their personal data, and two out of five people (39%) expect those organizations to make sure that everything is secure, regardless of where their employees work from.

Not to mention that the use of apps like TraceTogether, for instance, is no longer required; two out of every five Singaporeans (39%) are worried that their data won’t be deleted even when it is no longer needed to fight COVID-19.

Raising awareness of data privacy and concern

Due to the growing awareness of the laws governing data privacy and protection, businesses can’t afford to play fast and loose with consumers’ data. Nearly half (46%) of Singaporean consumers think they have a general understanding of data privacy laws – an increase over the 40% at the start of the pandemic.

During the past two years the number of Singaporeans who claim to be aware of data protection laws has risen from 37%in early 2020 to 47% in 2022. Although this shows that the pandemic made them more aware of data privacy laws and general understanding has been improved, more education is still needed.

“Businesses need to foster an integrated, data-centric approach to information governance and privacy management by leveraging discovery and classification tools to mitigate risks associated with the way they handle privacy and sensitive data and securing content with stronger classification and retention capabilities. In today’s post-pandemic world, organizations must unlock their information advantage, to protect their customers’ information and, in doing so, allay their concerns and retain their trust,” said Andy Teichholz, Global Industry Strategist, Compliance and Legal at OpenText.