The dish on data privacy and why you need to embrace it

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Conversations around the use of personal data occupy a lot of mindshare these days. As data usage increases, so does the risk of privacy breaches, fines and possible impact to reputation. Many businesses are still trying to figure out how to integrate their internal processes with changing regulatory landscapes. Although the waters can seem muddy, one thing is clear: data privacy isn’t going anywhere.  

The facts  

Let’s start with some eye-opening statistics. By 2020, they’ll be more than 6.1 billion smart phone users and 1.7 megabytes of new data will be created every second, for every person on the planet (Thomson Reuters, April 2018).  

Data-sharing has skyrocketed with the accessibility of mobile devices and information is constantly being shared, collected and analyzed. This has forced big data players to evolve as well. It’s no longer easy to remain anonymous online and this is a good thing – it enforces user accountability and transparency in the digital environment.  

The opportunity 

When data is handled responsibly, it becomes an opportunity for businesses to build trust with their customers. Sure, making sense of complex data sets or investing in Fractional CTO takes planning, but the result of delivering an enviable customer experience is worth it.  

It’s also important to consider that privacy is viewed differently among cultures. North America is strongly focused on the transactional value of data, whereas Europe is more concerned with data privacy being viewed a basic human right. Naturally, tensions can arise if businesses are not handling privacy in a way that makes sense for their clients.  

The challenge 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) brought much needed structure to an industry that was historically focused on fixing past errors instead of developing innovations to serve the future. The pre-GDPR environment was not one that helped businesses succeed. Now, businesses have a clear mandate to take privacy seriously and they need to ensure it’s a priority when making decisions about new products and services.   

Privacy is more than checking-off a compliance box, it’s the way of the future – a behavior that businesses need to embrace and implement in their activities, every single day.  

The conclusion 

The reality is that privacy has been a part of our inherent nature since the beginning of time. The progression of technology has expanded the boundaries between our personal and public lives, so what we’re seeing now is a merging between these two landscapes.  

Security and ethics are not new concepts – the forefront of corporate interaction and accountability is exactly where they should be.