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August 26, 2015

Businesses face loss of custom over ‘Millennial malaise’

16 to 35-year olds are losing trust in the digital economy, fuelled by concerns over online security.

By Ellie Burns

Existing security measures online are resulting in a ‘Millennial malaise’, as 16 to 35-year olds are increasingly losing trust in today’s digital economy.

This continuing loss of trust serves as a stark warning to businesses and government departments who provide online services and products, as millennials protest that easily-hackable safeguards are potentially putting their data in the hands of criminals.

According to research of 2,000 UK and US millennials, a dire 5% believe that their digital identity and personal data are completely protected by effective safeguards.

More concerning still, just 6% their data is completely secure based on the password policy they apply.

"Today’s Millennials have been digitally spoon-fed since birth, yet a general malaise is brewing among this demographic in terms of how safe their online data really is," says Lubna Dajani, a communications technology expert and futurist.

"Millennials understand their personal information is a form of currency they need to part with to access online services. Yet they participate in this ‘digital trade-off’ in the belief that more can be done to protect their privacy.

"Millennials want more control over who should be able to access their information; businesses and governments should urgently review current security protocols, or risk the potential to drive innovation and growth."

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When it comes to the future of the digital-connected world, driven by mobile devices, millennials seem to have no confidence in privacy and security. Nearly 70% believed the risk to their online safety will increase, with 31% believing this increase will be dramatic.

More disturbingly, 54% felt the failure of companies and governments to adequately protect identities and data would result in public distrust of goods and services.

In what should be a wake-up call to businesses, 44% believed there will be an eventual decline in data sharing and 36% predicted demands for action.

Smaller but still significant percentages of the research group said there is potential for a decline in economic or political stability.

"It’s time for organisations to stop playing fast and loose with what, in a digital economy, are our most important assets – our identity and our data," commented Intercede CEO Richard Parris.

"There seems to have been a collective consensus that Millennial will accept sub-standard security in exchange for online services. This clearly isn’t the case. The humble password should be consigned to the dusty digital archives where it belongs.

"To restore trust, smart companies need to look to stronger authentication techniques to ensure the future of digital commerce and information exchange and their own competitive edge."

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