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Privacy Compliance and its significance

The sharp rise in data breaches and the enforcement of privacy regulations have caused companies globally to revisit their stance on consumer privacy. Businesses owners are now starting to realise the importance of providing users with better access and control of their personal information.

This article discusses the relevance of Privacy Compliance and how organisations can prepare for its implementation.

What is Privacy Compliance?

If you’re a shop owner at a local community centre, you would be required by law to protect the identity of your customers and their information. You would also have to take steps to protect customer payments and secure bills and receipts for your own legal compliance and operations. This is an example of compliance in the physical sense.

As businesses and brands become increasingly digital, the responsibility for the online safety of their customers becomes more critical. Privacy regulations such as the GDPR, CBPR, PIPEDA 2000 (Amended 2018) have been put into effect in several countries. These regulations are the legal provisions that govern the privacy and security of user data managed by organisations.

Compliance implementation must be viewed as an upgrade to customer experience — as individuals tend to inherently trust brands that take their privacy seriously.

The Cost of Non-Compliance

Over the course of 2018 and early 2019, more than 9 million personal records were collectively stolen from some of the world’s leading airline companies. The Ponemon Institute’s 2018 Cost of Data Breach study reveals that each compromised record costs businesses $148 dollars. The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million dollars — a 6.4% increase from the previous year.

The price of not complying with privacy regulations isn’t just limited to fines. Non-compliant companies lack the infrastructure to safeguard the personal information of their customers and, as a consequence are exposed to attacks. People lose their confidence in such businesses and look elsewhere for others that can provide better security.

With a 27.9% chance of a repeat material breach within two years, the solution needs to be sustainable — not a temporary quick fix.

Developing a Privacy Mindset

Privacy regulations have set standards for businesses to manage consumer data responsibly. The pressure to reform the corporate attitude towards privacy is propelled not only by legal regulations but also by changes in consumer behaviour worldwide. Businesses continue to be distrusted across 10 key geographic markets — these include Japan, Hong Kong, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Compliance may call for infrastructural and operational changes, and while there may be some friction, this period of forced reconstruction can be worth every effort.

Building Brand Loyalty

In the era of depleting consumer trust, businesses need to take sustainable, responsive action. The legislations that have been passed, and the actions of regulators and lawmakers reflect the sentiment of the larger population they represent.

Businesses can build credibility by spreading awareness on what they’re doing to improve customer privacy and security. Marketers and influencers could leverage the promise of better access as a value proposition for new and existing customers. A transparent business-customer relationship develops trust and cultivates brand loyalty.

Better Internal Security

Most privacy regulators like the GDPR and CBPR promote Data Anonymisation, a key feature of Privacy by Design. It essentially means anonymising the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of a user through encryption so that the data is protected from malicious intent. Anonymisation does not reduce your team’s ability to use customer data for business intelligence but it prevents them from acquiring information about any particular user.

Framing internal processes and systems to comply with Privacy by Design also guards employees against hackers.

Rethinking Data Capture

Most businesses, insert lengthy online forms into their websites to obtain user information. In many cases, they do not have their CMS and back end infrastructure configured to consolidate this information. To optimise security and improve user experience, businesses need to reduce the number of channels they use to capture data from visitors and potential customers.

Websites and platforms must be configured to remove form barriers. Form fields must be kept to a minimum so browsers can speed up the fill-in process by recalling the auto-fill data. By reducing data duplication, the business’s storage costs are also limited, and consequently, the risk of loss of personal information.

Sphere Identity is a global identity solution that serves the dual function of delivering data security and streamlining user journeys. A secure digital commerce platform, it is an alternative to traditional sign-up forms and makes seamless onboarding possible. The solution also manages the acquisition of explicit consumer consent.