E-commerce is big business. There were 1.3 billion online transactions in 2014, according to a report from The UK Cards Association, and there was a huge growth in spending using cards, increasing from £270 billion in 2005 to £566 billion in 2014.

With online spending continuing to grow, customer trust has never been so important. Yet concerns over the theft and privacy of personal information remain a very real concern forconsumers shopping online. Given the number and scale of data breaches in the last year, it’s no surprise that people are worried.

We recently conducted a survey on the level of consumer trust in online sites, including retailers, banks, social networks and dating sites, and it revealed that the majority of consumers would not carry on using a site if it suffered a data breach. This results in loss of confidence and trust in a brand that is difficult to recover. Our survey also found that the theft of credit card information (84%) was seen as the biggest threat to privacy when online, followed by identity theft (80%), viruses (70%) and scam emails (60%). Banks were perceived as the most trustworthy websites, followed by healthcare providers and insurance firms. Online dating sites were the least trustworthy, followed by social networks.

Online businesses need to take action. Absolute confidence in a company’s ability to protect personal information is integral to consumer trust, and organisations can demonstrate this by doing the basic security measures. First, they should ensure they have the right security processes and procedures in place. Second, they should implement awell-defined and well communicated incident response plan should a security breach occur in order to minimise the impact and cost. And third, they must engage with their customers to help build awareness and demonstrate to them that the necessary security and privacy levels are in place. Finally, they should continually test the security of their business and the effectiveness of their controls and procedures.