Most enterprises take data security very seriously. Fewer pay as much attention to their customers’ data privacy, even though it’s equally important. It’s time for enterprises to take more accountability on data privacy, and here’s why.
Why Data Privacy is Important
Customers are used to sharing various information with businesses both online and in the real world. They trust those businesses to keep their data private – to not share it with other companies and to keep it safe from malicious parties.
These same customers are beginning to question whether it’s safe to share their information so freely. They read about or have been victims of massive data breaches. Some have had their information and identities stolen. Almost all have begun to notice how their web browsing and search queries seem to follow them around the Internet, in the form of disturbingly personal ad choices. It’s no surprise that 86% of Americans have made efforts to reduce or erase the personal information they leave online.
If customers decide not to share their personal information with you, your business could suffer. You need customer data to help run your business, both on a daily basis and over the long term. Without the information customers provide you won’t be able to provide the same level of service or quality of products that those same customers have come to expect. Equally important, you won’t be able to accurately schedule your workforce, manage your manufacturing capacity, or forecast sales and revenues. Without customer data you’ll essentially be flying blind.
For customers to continue to entrust you with their valuable information you need to ensure that all that data will remain private. You also have to comply with legal and regulatory obligations to ensure the privacy of customer data. If you don’t adequately protect this consumer data, you can be financially liable – and your company’s reputation could suffer.
Consumers Expect Enterprises to Be Accountable for Data Privacy
Today, frequent abuses of this trust have caused consumers to question whether companies are truly acting in their best interests. According to a Pew Research survey, 79% of Americans are concerned about how companies use the data they collect. An equal percentage think companies won’t publicly admit to misusing consumers’ information. Consumers’ trust that enterprises are adequately protecting their privacy is waning.
Consumers expect enterprises to be accountable for data privacy but fear that they’re not. If this dynamic doesn’t change consumers will trust companies with less of their data going forward.
Regulators Expect Enterprises to Be Accountable for Data Privacy
If consumers can’t trust enterprises to protect their valuable data, then regulators will be forced to step in to address the situation. There are already a variety of industry and governmental regulations in place addressing data privacy, including:
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), regulating privacy rights for California residents
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), regulating the privacy of student education records
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), regulating the privacy and security of consumer data for companies operating or doing business within the European Union
- Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA), regulating that financial institutions disclose how they protect and share their customers’ data
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), regulating the confidentiality and availability of Personal Health Information (PHI)
If enterprises cannot step up their accountability for data privacy, it’s possible that the U.S. government will enact strict regulations similar to the EU’s GDPR. Even if this doesn’t happen, it’s likely that other states will enact new privacy legislation similar to California’s CCPA.
Enterprises Need to Be Accountable for Data Privacy
It is clear that data privacy is important to consumers and of great interest to government and industry regulators. Being more accountable for data privacy is also in the self-interest of most enterprises. The potential loss of revenue stemming from an attack on customer data, the loss of reputation resulting from such an attack, and the subsequent fines for not complying with data privacy regulations can be devasting to even the largest firms.
To earn customer trust, protect your business’ revenues and profits, and ensure compliance with all current – and ward off future – regulations , it is imperative that your organization develop a renewed focus on data privacy. It will benefit your business now and over the long term.
Let Wickr Help Your Organization Improve Its Data Privacy
Data privacy isn’t just about securing stored customer data. It also involves protecting data shared during employee communications and remote collaborations. To ensure the security of your organization’s collaboration and communication, turn to Wickr’s secure communications and collaboration platform. Wickr employs strong end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to ensure that text, voice, and video communications and data files remain secure both at rest and in transit. It’s one of the best ways to be more accountable for your customers’ data privacy.
Contact Wickr today to learn more about data privacy and security.