The majority of New Zealanders are equally concerned about data security, regardless of whether information is stored within the national borders or overseas, a Unisys survey has found.

The national study, part of the broader Unisys Security Index research program, asked if respondents were more concerned about accidental data breaches or malicious and criminal attacks, depending on whether an organisation stored data in New Zealand or overseas.

The majority of respondents said they are equally concerned about both types of data breaches for both data stored in New Zealand (55 percent) or off-shore (63 percent).

"The results show that a majority of New Zealanders are concerned about both accidental and malicious or criminal data breaches -- regardless of whether the data is stored in-country or overseas," said John Kendall, security program director for Unisys Asia Pacific.

New Zealanders who are concerned primarily about malicious or criminal data breaches believe the risk is essentially the same for data kept in New Zealand (12 percent) as for data stored in another country (13 percent).

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"Surprisingly, New Zealanders who are primarily concerned about accidental data breaches believe the risk is greater for organisations that store data in New Zealand (11 percent) than for organisations that store data overseas (5 percent). This result likely reflects the several well-publicised data breaches in New Zealand over the last couple of years that have eroded the public's confidence in the steps taken by some local organisations to protect their data," Kendall said.

In addition, the Unisys Security Index found that the top two areas of security concern for New Zealanders, consistent since the study began in 2006, are related to unauthorised access to personal information and other people obtaining/using credit card details, with 62 percent of New Zealanders extremely or very concerned about both issues.

Around 21 per cent of respondents said they were not concerned about data security when it was stored in NZ, compared to 17 per cent when data is stored overseas.

The national survey covered 511 adults aged 18+ between 11--17 March, 2014 and was conducted by Consumer Link.

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