RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – An overwhelming majority of American consumers are demanding that businesses do more to protect their data from hackers and to ensure their privacy, a new survey from IBM finds.

Just how important?

Survey snapshot from IBM poll. (IBM)

A whopping 77 percent say how well companies manage to keep data secure is now a factor in making buying decisions.

In fact, 75 percent say they won’t buy products from a company if they don’t trust the firms with their information “no matter how good the products are.”

Nearly three fourths of consumers also complain that companies focus more on profits than privacy and data protection.

With news about harvesting of data from some 87 million Facebook customers by research firm Cambridge Analytica and ongoing cyberattacks from ransomware to outright theft, US consumers have had enough.

IBM contracted with The Harris Poll to conduct an online poll of several thousand users, and 78 percent said it is “extremely important” that companies keep data secure.

Only 20 percent, meanwhile, “completely trust” companies to ensure privacy, the survey released Monday says.

“Increasingly, we are seeing companies around the world trying to balance providing personalized services to consumers, while maintaining privacy,” said John Kelly, IBM Senior Vice President, Cognitive Solutions. “Getting this right requires companies working closely with each other and, importantly, with governments, to ensure the right protections are in place.”

The survey was taken between March 20-26 among adults ages 18 and over.

Full poll results are available for download.

IBM operates one of its largest campuses in RTP and employs several thousand people across North Carolina.