Privacy is an essential part of good business. As we enter a new era of data privacy, those companies seeking exclusively to profit off of such will lose. Businesses that advocate for their users by collecting consent, working to keep data private, and affording users control over their personal data, however, understand that their long-term success depends on their ability to earn and keep the trust of their users.
A survey conducted by Mckinsey found that consumers are becoming increasingly intentional about what types of data they share and with whom. This is likely a direct result, in part, of more and more high-profile data breaches. The survey shows that the stakes are very high for companies handling consumer data; even consumers who were not directly affected by breaches paid attention to the way companies responded to them.
Harvard Business Review reports that consumers are now not only second-guessing the security of their personal information but are also extending this lack of trust to how they perceive the stores and brands they once preferred. So, ask yourself, “What are you doing to demonstrate your commitment to customer privacy?” Privacy maturity signals to the consumer that you take the stewardship of their data seriously.
HBR suggests thinking about the rules of data protection slightly differently than we do today. They recommend that we shift from thinking about the detail around transacting to focusing more on building trust obtained through meaningful consent. Done right this trust translates to further consent in the future, and therefore more long-term value.
While it is always going to be important to understand key identities (like those of any third parties that you share PII with), HBR suggests that we should move past the rather shallow ‘identity numbers game’ and focus, rather, on deeper insight around those scenarios where data sharing exists, for example. This could include a better objective understanding of where PII exists, and what services and third parties are involved in processing such, as data formats, API behaviour, and more.
Lastly, HBR reminds us that siloed approaches to data protection simply can’t compete with orchestrated flows between data protection officers, information owners, security, and software engineering. Building information flows between organizations within a company using processes and technology helps to align perspectives on privacy and provide a common level of maturity company-wide. These flows ultimately provide maximum insight that benefits the customer through the development of future capability.
Making basic privacy rights mandatory and following proper privacy hygiene practices including the right to be forgotten, limiting data collection to the bare minimum, and minimizing the amount of time data is stored is the fastest route to privacy maturity. Companies committed to protecting their customer’s privacy and winning their long-term trust must make sure they are transparent about data collection and use and must evolve their privacy-focused practices and policies over time.
Apple is an excellent example of a leading company that is turning privacy into a business advantage, as well as part of its products — and not simply because the regulator said so. They undertook this initiative because they believe privacy is a fundamental right. Apple also understood, of course, that if enough consumers agreed with the move they would also have a strategic advantage that would translate into additional revenue. They were right.
Starting with the iOS 14 operating system Apple began to put users in control of how and where they shared their personal usage data across different applications much to the chagrin of digital marketers who had been unabatedly taking advantage of such information for years without consent.
In response to criticism about the changes, Apple released this official statement:
“We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice.”
Turning privacy into a business advantage means changing the ways companies build and run their privacy programs, leveraging advanced privacy technologies in an effort to build and maintain privacy by design. It’s much easier, faster, and less expensive to design and build something correctly from the start than to retroactively fix something that is broken, often after already beginning to rely on its business value.
Privacy Starts in the Code
Founded in 2021, Privya was born out of the need to re-imagine privacy engineering for today’s dynamic data landscape. Privya enables companies to build privacy into the development lifecycle, so the minute your engineers start developing, your data is protected and privacy is guaranteed. By shifting privacy left, Privya’s customers enjoy less risk, earlier detection, and increased privacy compliance.