Businesses ignore security fears in pursuit of e-commerce benefits

Businesses and consumers are stepping up their use of e-commerce despite having growing concerns over online security, according to research by RSA Security.

Businesses and consumers are stepping up their use of e-commerce despite having growing concerns over online security, according to research by RSA Security.

An internet security index developed by RSA has revealed a disparity between the willingness of businesses and consumers to use the internet and their concerns over security.

The findings will place renewed pressure on businesses to step up online security, and may lead to greater pressure from regulators on businesses, RSA said.

"In the pursuit of convenience and cost savings, businesses and their customers are knowingly making themselves more vulnerable to identity theft," said RSA president and chief executive Art Coviello. "Security is failing to keep pace with what end-users wish to do online."

On the RSA index, which was based on data from 600 companies and 600 consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany, businesses gave internet security a score of only 22 out of 100. Consumers rated internet security at five out of 100.

Despite these ratings, the volume of business on the internet is growing. Seventy five per cent of businesses said they carried out more online transactions over the past year, and more than 50% said their online transactions had increased in value.

On average, online transactions generate 35% of the sales for businesses in the US and Europe, the RSA research found.

However, nearly 40% of European businesses and 67% of US businesses said they were concerned about the security of their networks.

The survey found conflicting views between businesses and consumers over where responsibility for security should lie. Consumers said banks and retailers should be responsible for protecting their personal information, but only 26% of businesses agreed.

RSA said more needed to be done by regulatory bodies and industry associations to ensure that sensitive information is protected online.

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