Data Security Concerns are Prominent Among Indians: Unisys Security Index™ 2020

By : |July 4, 2020 0

In a world hit by COVID-19, data security concerns of individuals could be many. As we embrace new ways of living, working and even schooling. So, the uncertainty associated with every aspect of our life seems to be the only constant. In these changing circumstances, there should be a study that captures the greatest security concerns of individuals across different areas. This will help them guide organizations towards understanding their internal and external stakeholders better. This will also help key people to take pertinent action to mitigate their fears and drive the outcomes for themselves.

One study that provides a holistic view of security concerns of individuals in the country across personal, national, financial and internet security is the 2020 Unisys Security Index™. Unisys executed it across the globe for 14 years. It is a signature research program by Unisys that uncovers a wealth of insights on how data security concerns across the globe have evolved. The study was conducted in India for the first time. Further, it uncovered interesting aspects of the security concerns of people in the country.

Identity Theft – the Top Data Security Concern

The 2020 Unisys Security Index™, India revealed that identity theft is the topmost security concern of all. 83% of Indians concerned about it. This is followed by concerns around hacking and viruses, bank card fraud, online shopping and natural disasters. Here, with 82% of the individuals were concerned about it. It is interesting to note that the top four security concerns of Indians are related to data security. This reflects a growing awareness among Indians about data security and the importance of protecting their data from unauthorized access.

These findings also resonate with global data which indicates that identity theft, bank card fraud, natural disasters and hacking and viruses are the leading security concerns globally as well. In fact, for the fourth consecutive year, Identity Theft and Bankcard Fraud are the most tenacious concerns globally. 65% of respondents worried about identity theft this year.

Of the 15 countries surveyed, India recorded the second-highest level of overall data security concern at 223 points out of 300 – across the breadth of national, financial, internet, and personal security. The global 2020 Unisys Security Index stands at 175, a whole 48 points lower.

Cybersecurity in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of citizens across the globe is very evident. In a health crisis like the COVID-19, family health was a key data security concerns of individuals. One of the most noteworthy findings emerged from the study was in a health crisis like COVID-19. It was that concerns around the risk of a data security breach while working remotely were the least among all the security concerns listed.

Contrast it with the steep rise in the number of cyberattacks over the last quarter and we can see a potential challenge that organizations need to beware of. As individuals adapt to the new normal of working remotely using company infrastructure or their own devices, there seems to exist a false sense of security when it comes to accessing corporate data and systems remotely.

Securing Individuals and Organizations from Cyberattacks

Given the findings emerging from the study, it is evident that the onus is now on the organizations to enable safe and secure access to corporate data and systems. They need to ensure their employees have secure direct access to applications. They should also train them to identify and avoid malicious scams and phishing attacks.

To do so for the large number of employees who are accessing corporate data and systems remotely, organizations need to move away from traditional security approaches. These include VPNs (which are neither scalable not sufficient in the current scenario). Further, they must embrace the Zero Trust model that includes always-on encrypted direct access, identity verification and a software-defined perimeter. Approaches like micro-segmentation enable organizations to reduce the attack surface and contain the damage in the event of a breach.

Organizations also need to invest in training their remote employees. They should empower them with the right set of tools and knowledge. this is so that they act as the strongest link in the organization’s security net. Technologies such as biometrics could provide one more layer of security to corporate assets such as employee devices. At the backend, companies should integrate emerging technologies like AI/ML into the cybersecurity ecosystem. This will enable organizations to identify irregular behaviours in their network and take prompt action.


Individuals, too have a key role to play in securing their personal and professional data from malicious attacks. In a remote working environment, individuals need to familiarize themselves with their organization’s security policies and act accordingly. Security essentials like strong passwords, ignoring suspicious emails, calls and hyperlinks, being regular with software updates and patches and using password protected video calls can go a long way towards protecting individuals from malicious cybercriminals.

Unisys, as an organization with a deep commitment to building a secure world, plays an important part. It is working to understand the security concerns of individuals across the world. Further, we relay these findings to relevant stakeholders so they can act on it. We believe that security is everyone’s responsibility and when all stakeholders come together, we can build a truly secure world.

(Disclaimer: This is an authored article. By – Sumed Marwaha, the Regional Services Vice President and Managing Director for Unisys India and Seshadri PS, Senior Director – Governance, Risk and Compliance, Office of the CISO, Unisys India Pvt. Ltd.)

Unisys India

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