January 13, 2016

Businesses’ Use of Personal Data at Risk, Accenture Report Warns

Report recommends key principles for corporate digital responsibility to promote greater digital trust

NEW YORK; Jan. 13, 2016 – A new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) warns that businesses’ use of personal data from consumers is at risk and recommends key strategies and principles to properly protect consumer data, build trust and simultaneously grow their businesses.

The report, “Guarding and Growing Personal Data Value,” acknowledges the benefits of using personal data to support innovation in customer service, product development and market development. However, it also identifies the growing challenges that businesses face when using personal data, as a result of changing sentiments among stakeholders such as customers, regulatory bodies and watchdogs.

“Customer data is a digital ‘crown jewel’ for any business but an organization’s ability to collect, analyze and monetize that asset in the future is under threat due to shifting perceptions, preferences, regulations and attacks,” said Ryan LaSalle, managing director, Accenture Security. “Above all, stewardship and effective safeguarding of personal data is paramount to establishing digital trust. The implications of failing to do so extend into a business’s operating model – meaning businesses must be organized and have the capabilities to protect the data that is entrusted to them.”

The report is based on research conducted by the Accenture Institute for High Performance that included a survey of nearly 600 global business professionals across eight industry groups, interviews with academic experts, and other secondary research. Ninety percent of respondents said digital stewardship is the most important principle in terms of improving their business reputation and being responsible managers of personal data, and 74 percent said that their businesses are taking action on this principle.

The report identifies several trends affecting the outlook of businesses using personal data including:

“Rather than fight these trends, businesses should pursue proactive strategies that will help them adapt to the changes ahead,” said Matthew Robinson, managing director, Accenture Institute for High Performance. “This includes investing in the right talent and technologies to bolster their security capabilities and provide greater data protection, defining an operational model centered on risk management goals to better predict, detect, respond and recover from security threats, and taking action on the principles we’ve identified that can promote greater digital trust.”

The five principles outlined in the report include:

The report is based on (1) an online survey of 578 business professionals across seven economies – Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, U.K. and U.S. – and across eight industry groups; (2) interviews with academic experts in the U.K.; and (3) secondary research including literature reviews, case studies and industry-leading practices undertaken by Accenture specialists. The online survey was conducted by Kadence International between July and August 2015. For more information visit www.accenture.com/digitalresponsibility.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 373,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

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Julie Bennink
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