Data Privacy 2021: How Data Privacy is Becoming a Strategic Priority

The data privacy landscape is changing. In response to public outcry, states such as Virginia and California are now enacting comprehensive data privacy laws aimed at protecting consumer data. 

Big tech companies such as Google and Apple are making data privacy part of their value propositions to customers. While Google recently announced it’s phasing out cookies and developing a new “privacy-first” web, Apple is giving users more control over how their data is used by 3rd party apps. Alongside this, they’re currently rolling out a massive “data as a human right” PR campaign to promote these new features. 

A new wave of startups are now offering a wide variety of privacy-focused products and services. While some such as and OneTrust specialize in corporate privacy solutions, others, such as Jumbo, enable consumers to control if/how/when their personal data is collected and used. 

However, there is a clear disconnect between how most business leaders view data privacy vs. everyone else. In a recent PWC survey, 55% of business leaders say that consumers trust them with their data more now than two years ago. But only 21% of global consumers actually report increased trust in companies’ use of their data. Instead, 28% say that their trust levels are dropping and 76% say that sharing their personal data with companies is a “necessary evil.”

This aligns with a 2019 Pew Survey that found that 75% of Americans say there should be new regulations of what companies may do with personal data and 81% of the public believe that the risks of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits. 

As data privacy and ethical data usage rise to the forefront of people’s minds, organizations must not only tighten controls around data governance, they must evolve their approaches to  collecting and using enterprise data, especially personally identifiable information (PII).  

Take third-party cookies. Since the early days of the internet, organizations have relied on the data generated by third-party cookies to shape their hyper-targeted ads, new product development and a whole host of other digital strategies. However, with Apple giving more users the tools to block 3rd-party cookies and Google phasing them out entirely over the next two years, those days are rapidly coming to an end.

Companies must now develop new, more sophisticated approaches for leveraging enterprise data that effectively balance data privacy with business objectives. By making data privacy and governance a core component of competitive advantage, organizations are not only being presented with an opportunity to develop more sustainable data management practices, but innovative ones as well.

In addition, while adept at preventing the inadvertent loss or intentional theft of sensitive information, legacy information security (infosec) tools are not designed to prevent the inappropriate exposure, mismanagement or unauthorized usage data when no loss or breach has occurred. 

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