Data privacy matters. Between data helping drive some of the world’s biggest tech giants to their sky-high valuations and numerous high profile data breaches, awareness around this topic has never been at a greater level.
However, while users may be willing to share their personally identifiable information (PII) for everything from retail to entertainment to employment purposes, they also expect the companies they share this with are going to protect their privacy. That means safeguarding the information and avoiding it falling into the wrong hands.
For this reason, every organization that gathers or otherwise works regularly with user data should ensure that they have a data privacy framework in place. In this article, we’ll list the reasons why it’s imperative that – if you don’t already have such a framework in place – you make developing and implementing one a priority.
With increasingly strict penalties for failing to protect user data, the risks associated with not having one are simply too significant to ignore.
Here’s why developing a data privacy framework is a great idea – and how it can help you.
1. For Data Breach Mitigation
Data breaches can cost organizations big. A company that loses sensitive data may suffer in multiple ways – whether it’s legally due to a failure to adequately protect this data, financially thanks to lost sales and customers (not to mention possible fines), and potentially operationally.
If you’ve ever heard the saying that data is the new oil, it’s pretty clear why springing a data leak is bad news – and possibly a development that could cost businesses millions of dollars.
The solution: Strong privacy rules can help to prevent accidental data disclosure. It will help you get ahead of a major threat that could prove disastrous if unaddressed.
2. Customer Protection and Privacy
Traditionally, customers of a business spent their hard-earned money in exchange for goods. In today’s data economy, customers may also offer their hard-earned personal data in exchange for access to services. This business model only works when customers deem this tradeoff to be worthwhile.
One of the most notable components is that, unless expressly stated otherwise, customers expect that their data will be kept provided and (in all cases) adequately protected. Failure to do this can yield catastrophic reputational damage to a business, as well as opening them up to potential legal issues.
The solution: A data privacy framework will help to determine which information is collected, where it’s stored, who has access to it, how it is moving within a business and between countries, and more. As such, it’s reassuring to both businesses and their customers.
3. Regulatory Compliance
More than ever, companies are being punished for failure to adequately protect data. New legislation regarding the collection, storage, and transportation of data is being passed around the world – many based on the pioneering and comprehensive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. Complying with this legislation is a necessity for any company that does business in these regions.
The solution: A data privacy framework can aid with compliance by making adherence to these requirements a central, visible part of what organizations do. Don’t think of this as an optional extra, either. New data protection laws may require a data privacy protection framework as a part of legal compliance.
How to Develop a Data Privacy Framework
There isn’t a single template available to companies when it comes to developing a data privacy framework. However, there are steps that every business should follow.
They should ensure that they are familiar with the exact types of data they are gathering and where this is stored or moved. They should also carry out a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to look at the current security measures in place, and whether these can be improved.
Fortunately, plenty of tools are available to help make data privacy a more integral part of every business. For example, tools that can monitor, log, and report on any data structure changes can be invaluable when it comes to assisting compliance auditors.
Data loss prevention, meanwhile, can help keep tabs on data in motion within networks, and block potential attacks before they gain momentum. Data masking, for its part, works by anonymizing data to keep it safe from potential attacks. (These are just a handful of the solutions cyber security experts can help bring to a company.)
By taking these steps on board, businesses and organizations can better build both internal controls and privacy policies that will help safeguard user data – and make it easier to maintain and prove that the proper steps are in place to protect users.
Having a comprehensive approach to maintaining data privacy will help underline how you’re a trusted entity in the battle to protect data. Such measures will also help to protect against the threat of breaches in the future. That’s a win-win for all involved.
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