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How can organizations build a strong privacy ecosystem?

How can organizations build a strong privacy ecosystem?

Introduction

In this day and age. The concept of data privacy is no longer a distant thought. Instead, it is the need of the hour and an emerging field of specialisation where professionals and players from different areas of expertise are now practising in this field.

 

This blog aims to give you an overview of data privacy from an organisation’s point of view and how organisations can build a strong privacy culture and ecosystem altogether. But before that, let us take a few minutes to understand the importance of data privacy.

Data is the new fuel.

Have you ever wondered how these big tech giants and other businesses come up with innovations and, more importantly, how they can determine the needs and want of the people from time to time?

 

From the moment we turn on our wifi or the internet to watching our favourite YouTubers’ videos to even surfing on Google and making payments online, whatever we do on the internet, we create and leave behind our digital footprints in the form of data (personal & non-personal). 

 

Tech companies and other industries feed on this data, which helps them improve their products and services to enhance user experience. In other words, we can put this as they provide our data to sell their products and services to us, and they earn huge profits from that. That’s one of the reasons why regulating this area is needed. Many countries have already implemented their data protection regime, which is applicable inside their national territory and even outside their jurisdiction; on the other hand, India has been working on its data protection law for almost 5 years now.

Is Data Privacy just a hype?

Let’s talk about some facts from the year 2021 which might blow your mind-

  1. The year 2021 witnessed an increase in data breaches because every business and organisation shifted their work to the online mode, which was a path to such breaches.
  2. There was a sudden hike in the average cost of a data breach after almost 17 years, and the cost rose from US$3.86 million to US$4.24 million on an annual basis. 
  3. The most common data breaches were of users’ credentials being stolen. The average cost of such breaches was US$4.3 million.
  4. Almost 36% of the breaches reported were connected to phishing attacks. Google identified nearly 2 million phishing websites in January 2022.
  5. The year 2021 also witnessed the sudden rise in android banking malware.
  6. Even social engineering attacks were at their peak.

 

But why should you care after all? These attacks and breaches were reported just in one year, and from individuals to corporations and even the government lost tons of money because of such incidents. Hence, protecting the data means protecting the economy of a country.

 

Data Privacy was never a hype, and now it has become a global issue. How come? Because of the constant warfare in digital/cyberspace. Surprisingly, the right to privacy extends and covers our digital privacy and is even recognised as a fundamental right in many countries.

 

More than just causing an adverse monetary effect on the economy, it is also a matter of the organisations and businesses’ reputations and maintaining the general public’s trust.

 

Responsibility of businesses & organisations

It is the sole responsibility of every business and organisation to take necessary safety measures to protect our data and promote the digital privacy of every individual. Why? Because they are the ones involved in the collection, sharing, and processing of our data. Regulations such as the European Union’s GDPR and California’s CCPA are examples of data protection laws around the globe. Wherever there is an active data protection law working, businesses and organisations would have to comply, and non-compliance to any of the provisions would lead to strict penalties. But how can these organisations and companies fulfil their obligations by complying with the respective data protection laws and still contribute to society through innovations and development?

Building a privacy culture and ecosystem

The only way left with businesses and organisations is by complying with the respective data protection laws governing that State/Province/Country. Since these laws are new and evolving, which makes it more burdensome for organisations and businesses to be fully aware of the changes and amendments all the time, that is why appointing a data protection officer in every organisation and business is a good approach and also is mandated by the law. But will this solve the problem? Not really. Data protection is not just the responsibility of the data protection officer. Instead, it should run inside every department, and every employee must be a part of this process.

  1.  
  1. Awareness about digital privacy- The first step to instilling a privacy culture and contributing to the privacy ecosystem of the organisation should be taken by the organisation’s management. They will have to take the first call to introduce the concept of digital privacy and make this concept familiar to the entire organisation through various seminars, conferences, team meetings, campaigns, and conducting many other social events. Nowadays, every organisation consumes their customers’ data and even their employees; hence, it is essential to have a robust privacy ecosystem. This can only be achieved by educating and awarding the entire organisation about the issues about the same. Data privacy is not just the management or the IT department’s responsibility; instead, it is a collective work.   

  2. Understanding the law- The second stage would be more complex here. The management level members and all the employees from different departments would be taught about the governing laws regarding data protection & privacy. This stage is more like an extended version of the first stage, as just awarding the entire organisation about data privacy wouldn’t help much. But by teaching them what each data protection law mandates, the technicalities, and the compliance requirements and issues about the same. If each employee is equipped with this basic set of skills and understanding, the organisation will soon be privacy ready along with a robust privacy ecosystem.

  3. Training the employees and Complying with industry standards- – This is another way of promoting a privacy culture inside your organisation through training. Training your employees with the relevant skillset is a practice especially followed in the privacy space today. Moreover, hiring employees with such a skill-set is the new trend; it doesn’t matter for which position you are applying for, having an additional skill set in privacy is an add-on. There are a few certifications that are recognised as industry standards, and the same is treated as essential standards of practice in multiple industries today. ISO standards are among them, along with IAPP’s certifications such as CIPP, CIPT, CIPM, etc., are some trending certificates that are seen as relevant in this domain, and people with such certifications have the edge over others.

  4. Investing and developing your security programs and practices- It is pretty evident that if the organisations have a privacy security program, then the same must be utilised as such a security program would help the organisation to keep track of all the data that was generated, shared, used, along with the relevant timelines, the purpose of such data, retention period, etc. Recording such details about the data in an organisation is considered an essential practice, and for such practices to be followed requires investment. Hence, investing in security programs would promote the privacy culture and make the organisation’s privacy ecosystem much stronger.   

  5. Choose vendors and other third parties wisely- Another important aspect that an organisation shouldn’t neglect is to choose vendors and other third parties with whom the organisation will share the data, either of their customers or employees; the same must be recorded, and such transactions should be governed by contracts with clauses stating obligations upon such vendors and third parties in the event of a data breach or on any other potential dispute occurring out of either a breach of any of the clauses partially or wholly.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, one can understand that creating a privacy culture is a new concept that is generally an acquired behaviour of individuals, businesses and organisations. At the same time, firms/organisations are working upon it diligently due to the constant fear of cyber-attacks and data breaches. This is the age of digitisation, wherein privacy is the core element, and without it, the economy of any nation would be at high risk and suffer as privacy issues impact the ongoing innovation and development of the country.

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Upskill yourself
with these courses

Upskill yourself
with these courses

Certified Information Privacy Technology

Certified Information Privacy Manager

Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States

Certified Information PrivacyProfessional/Europe

Data Protection Officer Certification

Data Privacy Fundamentals

Certified Tsaaro Data Protection Officer Course

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Up-Skill Your Data Privacy Knowledge!