Okta's latest Digital Trust Index reports that 49% of Australian respondents say they would permanently stop using a company's services following a data breach.
And 14% say they don't trust any digital channel to safely handle their data.
COVID-19 seems to have had an impact on people's opinions and behaviour, as 57% of Australian respondents 57% say they are more cautious about sharing personal information online now than they were before the pandemic.
There were more than 1000 respondents in Australia among the 15,000 office workers surveyed around the world.
Some of the results can be interpreted as signs of healthy suspicion.
For example, 54% are concerned whether an ecommerce site is legitimate, 49% worry that the data they provide to such sites will be breached, and 44% think sites ask for too much personal information.
Curiously, the top reason for trusting a digital brand is the reliability of its service reliability (32%), with secure login options such as multi-factor authentication coming a distant second at 24%.
Conversely, the main reasons for distrusting a digital brand are the intentional misuse or sale of personal data (44%) and data breaches (16%).
Trust is, understandably, central to ecommerce buying decisions. 77% would not purchase from a company they don't trust (only 77%?), while 49% would permanently stop using a company's services and 41% would delete their account following a data breach (shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted?).
And this is not just hypothetical: 40% of Australian respondents say they have lost trust in a company following a data breach.
Asked about their most trusted digital channels, 41% nominated government websites, 17% said websites used for work (including search engines and online databases), 10% picked workplace communications apps (Zoom, Slack, Teams, Skype, etc), and – somewhat worryingly – 5% went for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The pandemic has had an effect on trust at work. When working at home, 45% are more wary of phishing emails, 43% of data breaches, and 37% of deepfake fraud. 46% ascribed this additional caution to media coverage of online threats.
A small majority of employers have stepped up their security. 39% implementation of new security applications and technologies such as multi-factor authentication, and 28% have provided more internal security training (28%). But 21% of respondents said their employer has done nothing, and 24% said they did not know.
"This new report from Okta shows that, while digital transformation has been critical to helping businesses stay afloat after the COVID-19 pandemic, trust has become an essential commodity in mitigating risk and driving value for all," said Okta APAC general manager Graham Sowden.
"As cyber scams and data breaches continue to make headlines, the Australian public is becoming increasingly wary of risks to data privacy and security. Digital brands must be responsible stewards of customer data in order to nurture trust, and drive loyalty and success. The first step towards building digital trust is establishing effective security tools and policies."
The Australian edition of The State of Digital Trust report is available here.