Top Data Privacy Trends Geared Towards Making Every Day #PrivacyAware
Cybersecurity failures can cripple your business’s reputation. Staying #PrivacyAware helps protect your customers’ data and your credibility!
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the American economic landscape throughout 2020 was devastating. We still haven’t gained enough distance or had a significant enough recovery to gauge the damage across industries on an economic level. However, we can point to various trends emerging in 2021 that must influence our strategies and approach if the marketing industry is to keep pace with client needs as businesses evolve and recover throughout the year.
To that end, we’ve talked extensively on the UpCity platform about the impact on marketing and advertising initiatives as consumer behavior becomes more driven by corporate integrity, the value of services provided, and brand community involvement. Consumers are also increasingly impacted by another element of business operations management that has been severely compromised in the fallout of the pandemic–data privacy.
Businesses increasingly rely upon data analytics to drive operations and strategic planning initiatives, and therefore the technology to safeguard client data has become just as indispensable to running a successful business as the technology used to gather that data. The problem is that, as the pandemic worsened, many states were forced to impose quarantines.
Quarantines led to businesses already struggling to survive having to adopt work-from-home and remote work arrangements. Pushed beyond their organizational four walls, businesses could no longer rely upon the perimeter of their organization’s internal network. Seeing an opportunity, malicious actors pounced, and 2020 saw remote workers become the source of more than 20% of the cybersecurity incidents that occurred.
In 2021, businesses must embrace the fact that if they are to rely upon data to inform their business strategies, then the organization must take the necessary precautions to safeguard the privacy of that data. Today, on Data Privacy Day, we delve into the privacy trends emerging out of 2020 that will influence how businesses conduct themselves to maintain data privacy in the new year.
A Precedent for Increased Legislation on the Horizon
In the last few years, the European Union and California separately introduced legislation that imposed very strict and expansive regulatory requirements on businesses that maintain or collect client data. Having brought focus on consumer rights such as access to data, disclosure of its collection, and the ability to control how corporations use and sell that data, it’s expected that these two pieces of legislation set the stage globally for more sweeping legislation to be passed. Gartner anticipates that data privacy regulations that currently in 2020 cover 10% of the global population will soon cover upwards of 65% of people around the world.
Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation went into full effect across all European Union member states in 2018. Intended to bring a certain uniformity and unity to how businesses must handle consumer data, the legislation also significantly increased an individual’s control as to how and when businesses can collect data. The service provider must also provide transparency as to how the data is used.
How does that impact you as a United States-based business? The GDPR is considered to be an extraterritorial piece of legislation. That is, it doesn’t only apply to all businesses or entities that operate within the EU that cater to EU’s citizens. It also applies to entities that might process the data of EU citizens outside of the European Union. In either case, the law is valid regardless of where the business entity is headquartered internationally.
California Consumer Privacy Act
Heavily influenced by the GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act went into full effect in July of 2020. Like the GDPR, the law requires businesses that might process user data for California Residents to adhere to certain security standards relative to the storage of user data. There are further conditions in place that trigger CCPA:
- Annual Revenue over $25 million
- Captures and processes personal data from at least 50,000 California-based residents/households/devices
- At least 50% of Annual Revenue sourced from selling the data of California-based residents
Businesses impacted have to include mechanisms to inform consumers as to when data is collected, how it will be used, and if requested, provide access to the personal information you already have on file from the previous 12 months. Inform customers every time data is collected.
Data Privacy Automation Gains Traction, but Security and Ethics Concerns Should Lead to Increased Caution
Across every industry, technological innovation has opened the door to automating tasks that are highly labor-intensive. When it comes to marketing and advertising you look at the rising use of AI and machine learning in chatbots, customer service, and lead generation, which have tremendously streamlined and improved the sales process. However, as the workforce becomes increasingly spread-out and remote-working the new normal, it becomes more difficult to collect, track, transmit, and store data securely when all of those processes are taking place beyond the organization’s internal network.
With the number of data breaches and ransomware incidents that took place globally throughout 2020, privacy concerns have finally started to influence strategic approaches to data collection and IT infrastructure planning. The Executive Suite in 2021 will be more cognizant of the balance that must exist between strategic improvements that can be achieved with data analytics but also ensuring that they invest in the infrastructure, technology, and training necessary to safeguard that data. Improved profitability means little when the average data breach can cost upwards of $3.86 million, and ultimately lead to your organization closing its doors.
Concerns of Privacy Should Lead to a Streamlined Datastream
In the past, data collection policies have followed a strip-mining approach to collecting customer data. Collect data on as many metrics as possible and store all of that data whether it’s currently relevant to the business goals at the moment. The thought process was that having access to a breadth of knowledge over time would allow the brand to capture information they might need for future expansion or service improvements.
That level of data collection, especially if not properly protected, becomes a significant liability over time, not to mention a financial drain, given the costs of storing data is largely based on volume and use, whether you manage data in-house or through a managed cloud service. In 2021, expect to see a streamlining of data collection across applications as every business will be looking to not only reduce costs but reduce liability and limit exposure to security events.
Rising Ransomware Incidents Necessitate a More Strategic and Viable Approach to Data Integrity and Availability
When we talk about privacy and data security, we’re delving into what cybersecurity refers to as the CIA triad. Historically, we’ve focused on the confidentiality of data, the “C” in the triad. However, sophistication in hacking methods and technological advances in how attackers are coming at businesses will in 2021 require cybersecurity professionals to work with their organizations on a strategic level to improve data integrity and accessibility.
While our need to secure and prevent unauthorized access should not waiver, the “I” in the triad is focused on determining if data has been illicitly modified and if so, can it be restored. Availability, on the other hand, means that your robust backup and recovery system negates the impact of a hacker encrypting or deleting your active database because you have redundant storage built into place. While you still will have to deal with navigating the impact of the privacy breach itself, you won’t be crippled and shut down in the meantime, and your organization can continue to operate.
Remain Focused on Best Practices, Training, and Awareness
These are just some of the trends coming down the pipeline for data security and privacy in 2021. Just as with any component of your business that is influenced by technology, the practices of data collection and securing that data are constantly evolving. But everything that we’ve covered in this article was written with the most important strategy of cybersecurity in mind: awareness and training are your most powerful weapons.
Human error is responsible for upwards of 95% of cybersecurity breaches. But it doesn’t have to be. As a business operating today, you know that you are managing client data to some degree. If you don’t have the internal resources to implement data privacy best practices, then start your search for a B2B services provider that specializes in data security and fold them into your operation through a managed services contract. Search out a firm that specializes in employee training and ensure your staff receives quarterly cybersecurity training so that they remain #PrivacyAware throughout the year.