Data Privacy Becoming High Stakes for Enterprises

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

Data is the resource that fuels the information economy. It is widely used by companies to guide operational and marketing strategies and by governments to inform policy decisions. Data sharing took center stage recently during the pandemic as health records were analyzed to speed up the development of coronavirus vaccines. While data sharing can be done responsibly and for the public good, people across the globe are increasingly worried about enterprise data sharing that undermines end-user privacy.

As more enterprises seek to mine the value of data, concerns are growing about the security and privacy of this data. A Pew Research study found that approximately six-in-ten Americans believe it is not possible to go through daily life without having their data collected and 70% say their personal data is less secure then it was five years ago. McKinsey research concluded that “consumers are becoming increasingly intentional about what types of data they share—and with whom” and “simply do not trust companies to handle their data and protect their privacy.”

This lack of trust can have bottom-line impact for enterprises. Research by Salesforce found that 48% of customers have stopped buying from a company or using a service due to privacy concerns. On the flip side of that, Salesforce data indicates that 89% of customers are more loyal to companies they trust.

Today, headline making data breaches are fueling consumer awareness of and expectations for privacy, prompting governments globally to step up data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 128 out of 194 countries have put legislation in place to secure the protection of data and privacy.

The rapid acceleration of digital transformation during the pandemic added to privacy concerns, introducing operational practices that made data more vulnerable. The transition to remote working elevated privacy and security risks for organizations, multiplying cyberthreats and data breaches. While remote working is likely here to stay - so too are these risks for enterprises that don’t have strong data privacy practices and protections.

Protecting data privacy in the work-from-anywhere environment requires enterprises to carefully consider the data sharing practices of the solutions they use for communication and collaboration. In a world hyper-aware of privacy, a collaboration platform like NetSfere, built from the ground up with enterprise-grade security, encryption and control, can help organizations deliver on the growing imperative for data privacy.

As privacy becomes the standard by which organizations are measured, it is critical that data management and security become embedded in the DNA of enterprises. The report by McKinsey noted, “because the stakes are so high—and awareness of these issues is growing—the way companies handle consumer data and privacy can become a point of differentiation and even a source of competitive business advantage.”

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