By Michelle Dennedy, Privacy Jedi & Strategic Advisor

In today’s rapidly expanding global digital economy, protecting data privacy is essential. Companies must be able to demonstrate how they are protecting data privacy to earn the trust of their customers first and foremost. Most enterprises have customers all over the world, and partners, users, and employees are more distributed now than ever before.

To earn this all-important trust, organizations must start with these five things.

1. Provide transparency and accountability

Customers and partners should know how committed you are to protecting their privacy. Providing clear descriptions for data intensive services and products is a great start.  Limiting the unwanted sharing or spread of personal information is another practical way to demonstrate your commitment to limit use to data that is permissioned, ontime, and of high quality to serve the data subject and the business to whom the data has been entrusted. For example, Privitar is dedicated to not only protecting and respecting the personal data of customers and partners, but to helping customers to protect and respect the personal data of their own customers, regardless of where it comes from or where it flows. Privitar continues to build out the data protection capabilities of the Privitar Data Privacy PlatformTM 4.0, as the compliance group works closely with legal authorities and customers alike to ensure that Privitar offers the insight necessary to understand current and future regulations. The Privitar Labs team has decades of data protection experience and tackles the technical challenges inherent in protecting sensitive data in all its myriad forms. 

2. Design a comprehensive data protection program

Build a data protection program that protects data throughout its lifecycle. This means protecting the security of your data; strategically requiring privacy by design; adopting privacy engineering methodologies and privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs); managing the collection, use, processing, and storage of all data; managing operational needs, including reporting and oversight; and planning for securely disposing or destructing data when necessary and appropriate. In short, govern data every day as if it were the most precious resource and fiduciary duty you have.  

3. Stay up to date on changing global regulatory requirements

Different countries, and individual states in the United States, continue to propose and refine requirements for handling personal data handling. That means that organizations must ensure that they are meeting those requirements across different jurisdictions around the world. This requires businesses to have a mature data privacy practice that aligns with both their customer demands and these varied regulatory requirements. Communicate these proposed changes and trends with everyone in your organization with access to your data supply chain.

4. Conduct an internal audit

Before you can inform your consumers about your privacy policies and practices, you need to understand your policies and practices. Your internal audit will help you identify and understand some critical information, including: 

  • What data you are collecting right now
  • How you’re currently using that data
  • Who has access to the data
  • How the data is being protected

Plan for periodic and continuous auditing and governance; the nature and character of personal data changes over time and context.

5. Share data with care

Data is one of an organization’s most valuable assets, and should be treated as such. When you share data inside or outside of your organization, ensure that all parties with access to data have access to only the data they need, protect all data according to its sensitivity, and adopt automation and workflows that allow you to maintain data utility without compromising on data privacy.

Protecting customers’ privacy can seem like a monumental task, particularly as data collections have grown exponentially during 2020’s pandemic-driven lockdowns. With a commitment to these five promises, and a collaborative, risk-based approach to data privacy, organizations can appropriately leverage even sensitive data. By focusing and responding in an increasingly complex and dynamic world, your organization can make promises to consumers, users, partners, and employees alike to put the protection of their data at the heart of business – and build trust, collaboration, and innovation based on that commitment.

Watch on Demand: In:Confidence fireside chat with Michelle Dennedy on how to maximize your innovation with data privacy and safe analytics.