Reaction to Parliamentary inquiry on cyber-security breaches

20th Jun 2016

Businesses need to accept responsibility, rather than offer excuses, if customer data is exposed in a cyber security breach, according to Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service.  Her comments come as the Culture, Media and Sport Committee publishes its report into cyber security and the protection of personal data online.

evidence submitted to the Committee’s enquiry, which was triggered by a series of data breaches at TalkTalk, The Institute released figures suggesting UK consumers want the Government to impose financial penalties on organisations who fail to protect their data. More than 1,000 consumers were questioned and 84 percent argued that Government should impose fines if the safeguards in place are not sufficient.  77 percent also think Government should do more to protect consumers’ personal information.

Jo Causon says:
“Almost one in four consumers say that nothing can restore their trust after a data breach, so if cyber security attacks continue at the current pace, business performance will suffer as concerned customers swap loyalty for personal data safety. 

“The fact is that a customer’s experience is determined not just by performance when things go well, but the promise of performance when things go wrong.  That’s why the organisations best able to deliver a strong, reassuring and detailed outline of their cyber strategy will set themselves apart from their competitors and go a long way to securing the long-term loyalty of customers.”

To reassure customers, the Institute of Customer Service outlines a series of actions businesses can take in its response to the Committee inquiry.  These include:

- ensuring colleagues have the appropriate skills to communicate how data is protected
and what is happening in the event of a cyber-attack

- setting out the approach taken to protect customers’ data so consumers are fully informed and able to make a decision about what to share

- following a consistent set of standards across an organisation so that customer data is continuously protected no matter where it is held or analysed.

Causon adds:
“It’s too easy to blame organisations when a breach happens because personal security cannot be wholly delegated by consumers.  However, unless UK plc is transparent about its approach and the actions taken when things go wrong, trust will continue to fall.  If that happens, loyalty, repeat purchase and recommendations are likely to fall, too, which is something organisations can ill afford.”


Notes to editors
For further information please contact: 
Helen Glover
E: [email protected] 
T: 020 7260 2698

Ellie Scott and Rebecca Stevenson
E: [email protected]  
T: 0207 010 0831 (Ellie Scott) or 020 7010 0810 (Rebecca Stevenson)

About The Institute of Customer Service
The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.  The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 500 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 4,000 individual memberships.  For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to

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