New report: Aussies prioritise security of their apps, but 74% don’t feel responsible for their own data security


F5 has released its latest Curve of Convenience 2020 Report: The Privacy-Convenience Paradox highlighting consumer attitudes and behaviours towards apps in today’s digital-first economy. The report found that while Australians are prioritising the security of their apps, the focus on convenience is on the rise. When asked “how important is security over convenience to you?” 40% in Australia said security, leaving 60% choosing convenience.

Key findings:

  • The race toward a digital-first economy has prompted the increase in app usage—demonstrating just how important it is to offer demanding consumers with seamless, secure holistic digital experiences
    • 57% of Australian respondents said they use social network apps multiple times a day
    • 29% of Australian respondents said they use entertainment apps multiple times a day
  • Security is (still) the most important feature for Australians although overall importance of this feature dropped (from 42% in 2018 to 30% in 2020)—meaning, Australians don’t necessarily want security to be at the expense of convenience.
    • As app features shift with the demands of its users, users in Australia indicated the greatest satisfaction for user-friendliness (69%) of apps in 2020, shifting away from strong encryption which garnered 81% satisfaction in 2018
    • For Australia, the importance of user-friendliness and fast loading times rose by 5% and 4% since 2018
  • Australians value their online privacy and personal information and take that extra step to protect their data
    • Australia is one of the markets that is less likely to share personal information on apps. Only 50% of Australian respondents are willing to share/store personal data on an application, and 72% will enable 2FA if given the choice.
  • When it comes to data security responsibility in Australia, 39% feel responsibility should lie with businesses, 35% with the government and 26% believe the responsibility lies with themselves

According to industry expert, Ankit Saurabh, Assistant Lecturer, School of Engineering and Technology at PSB Academy, “With COVID-19 changing various aspects of our routine, most of us have been adapting to the new normal of working-from-home, and online banking, entertainment, shopping and food delivery applications have become our primary means of accessing goods and services today. During this critical time, businesses need to work even harder towards improving their security postures to protect customer and organisational data.”

To remain competitive under these circumstances, businesses must consistently deliver unique, high-performing, and secure digital experiences, all while adhering to complex compliance and security requirements as well as ensuring a convenient, frictionless, and user-friendly experience. To help achieve this goal, businesses should turn to a largely untapped resource: the customer.

The Curve of Convenience 2020 Report shows that 27 percent of respondents are not even aware of breaches to government sites or high-use applications, making it more important than ever to view customers as allies, working towards the common goal for a delightful, yet secure, digital experience. Users, if armed with the right information, can increase vigilance when sharing their data, or even demand for more transparency on how their data will be used. “It is imperative for businesses to not only train and equip their workforce with the necessary skills, but to also involve the consumers in this security-convenience journey to stop cyber threats in their tracks,” said Saurabh.

“As COVID-19 reshapes our lives locally and around the world, businesses are ramping up digital transformation efforts to address the increased consumer demand for applications used to work, connect and entertain,” said Jason Baden, Regional Vice President, Australia and New Zealand at F5. “In terms of importance, our research revealed that 40 percent of Australians are prioritising their security, with 60 percent choosing convenience. But to truly integrate both elements, businesses should proactively involve consumers across the development of the applications, and not only at the end. To contend with the increase in both application consumption, and security vulnerabilities, collaboration is absolutely key. Partnering with consumers will allow the industry to thrive, and businesses, together with their digital partners, can create better solutions that deliver seamless yet secure experiences, any time, all the time. Bringing customers along the journey will help them feel invested in their own protection.”

While consumers have chosen to cede responsibility for their own digital safety to brands and the government, it is critical that these organisations continue to educate and partner with users about the consequences of their choices to trade data or privacy to gain more seamless experiences. With this partnership in place, organisations across the board can further utilise next-level technology solutions to implement robust security postures while also delivering the frictionless experiences that consumers have come to expect.

Report Highlights

  • Most Asia Pacific consumers assign security responsibilities to businesses and governments. 43 percent of respondents believe that the responsibility lies with businesses. In comparison, 32 percent believe that the onus lies with governments to protect their data – only 25 percent believe it is the users’ responsibility to protect their own data. Similar sentiment is reflected in Australia, as 39 percent feel responsibility should lie with businesses, 35 percent with the government and 26 percent believe the responsibility lies with themselves.
  • 69 percent of Asia Pacific users, on average, are choosing to give up their privacy to gain better experiences. Respondents from China (82 percent), India (79 percent) and Indonesia (79 percent) are the most willing to share their data, with respondents from Japan (43 percent), Australia (50 percent) and Singapore (58 percent) being the least likely to trade data for more seamless experiences.
  • Over a quarter of users are unaware of breaches. 27 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific indicated that they were not even aware of the breaches despite hacks that affected government bodies or high-use applications.
  • Today’s users frequently choose frictionless experiences over security, but they still expect the organisations to safeguard their data. Only four percent of respondents stopped using an application as a result of a breach, however, their trust in an organisation’s abilities to protect their data is waning across the board – with social media companies witnessing the steepest drop in trust by 19-percentage points.