IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Would you drop a company because it was hacked? Of course not

Half of Brits say they'd ditch firms that leak their data, but experience suggests otherwise

Locks on a screen with one open and in red

When it comes to security, what people say and what people do are often wildly different things.

We all know it's best not to click on links we're not sure about and to avoid opening attachments from unknown sources, and we're fully aware it's in the best interest of security to keep our laptops updated and our data backed up.

It's no different from the rest of our lives: get some exercise, eat healthily and don't drink too much alcohol.

And yet, hacks happen and data is lost (and we continue to be lazy and tipsy and put on weight, but maybe that's just us - you look great, really).

So it's with several grains of salt (on our plate of chips, naturally) we must take the latest survey from F5 Networks, which claims 50% of Brits would never ever use a company that had been hit by hackers.

Sure you wouldn't. And you'd go for that run on Saturday morning, pass on that second piece of cake, and have perfectly backed up your data, too.

That's what the survey of 3,000 people suggests, and F5 very sweetly believes what we say. "The study shows that50% of consumers would not share data with, or purchase products from, a company that has been hackedin the past, highlighting the impact that poor cybersecurity can have on business reputation," the press release F5issuedIT Pro withreads.

But what we say we do, and what we actually do, can be very different.Look ateBay,Apple iCloud,Tumblr,Facebook,LastPass, andTwitter.Did they all lose half their users - or even half the users directly affected - after high-profile attacks? Not a chance.

Other firms have been punished.Following the TalkTalk hack, the ISP shed 7% of its existing customers and lost market share with new customers. It only actually lost data from 4% of its userbase to hackers, suggesting many of those directly affected, plus a few more, did indeed march away.

Of course, ISPs are the sort of business you reguarly reconsider: each time your contract is up, a customer decides if the price, speed and so on is worth another two years, so anyone re-signing when the hack was still making headlines would naturally have had second thoughts.

But TalkTalk aside, it'd be difficult to find a company that lost half of its customers after a hack, no matter what people told F5 in its survey.

Ask me if I'd ditch a supplier or service provider because of a hack, and I'd probably say yes - but that doesn't mean I actually would. It would depend on the hack, on the business, on the data lost, on how angry I was about it all - and how lazy I was, and whether I was willing to spend the time sourcing an alternative that's perhaps just as likely to be hacked.

And accuracy of the survey results aside, that's okay.Walking away after a single incident gives hackers too much power and encourages companies to cover up data leaks, which hurts our individual security rather than improving it.

We certainly shouldn't stay with a company that's continuely reckless with our data, but most of us know it's all a bit more complicated than that and understand companies may well deserve a second chance.

A company can accidentally leak data even if it puts real effort into security - just as we can be healthy and still stuff our faces with chips - so please, British businesses, don't panic from the results of this survey. You won't lose half your customers if you 'fess up to imperfect security, no matter what this survey says.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Ten ways to protect your company from the next big data breach
data breaches

Ten ways to protect your company from the next big data breach

18 Feb 2022
Gumtree site code made personal data of users and sellers publicly accessible
data protection

Gumtree site code made personal data of users and sellers publicly accessible

16 Dec 2021
Pizza chain exposed 100,000 employees' Social Security numbers
data breaches

Pizza chain exposed 100,000 employees' Social Security numbers

19 Nov 2021
83% of critical infrastructure companies have experienced breaches in the last three years
cyber security

83% of critical infrastructure companies have experienced breaches in the last three years

11 Nov 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022
IT admin deletes company’s databases and is jailed for seven years
Policy & legislation

IT admin deletes company’s databases and is jailed for seven years

16 May 2022