The importance of capturing and maintaining data to a modern business cannot be underestimated and it is absolutely crucial that people's personal information is treated with due care and diligence.
Companies rely on accurate and up-to-date information for their marketing drives and having a reliable database containing the names and addresses of potential customers is vital.
However, there have been numerous high-profile instances of organisations using poor data handling methods, resulting in loss of sensitive data.
A new study conducted by Canon has indicated companies that mishandle data risk losing customers forever.
The report - published by Computer Weekly - showed that more than three-quarters of respondents in Germany, France and the UK would leave if their personal data was lost or stolen from a supplier.
This figure rose to 80 per cent when the UK was assessed on its own, while a mere two per cent said they would still have confidence in the organisation if their information was leaked to a third-party source.
More than one-third of UK-based customers felt businesses do not do enough to boost the security of their databases. This ties in with recent research by Verizon, which found that hackers are still gaining access to personal details by using the most primitive methods possible.
The study found that companies are having data stolen because of faults in their basic defence systems. Indeed, many organisations were discovered to have flawed firewalls, while other essential security measures were also lacking.
Although it is true that cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, the Verizon report discovered that 97 per cent of all data lapses are perpetrated by hackers using tried and tested methods.
Taking this into account - and the fact that the European Commission is introducing tougher data protection laws - businesses really need to up their game and invest in new software that will keep their precious databases safe and sound.