Data Overexposure: Privacy at Risk

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

Privacy is at risk whenever, however and wherever data is collected. The more data that is collected and shared, the more enterprises are exposed to compliance and security risks. Today, privacy hangs in the balance as businesses continue to mine consumer data. A report by KPMG found that over the past year 70% of companies increased their collection of personal consumer data. Even as companies collect this data, data privacy and protection measures are lagging. A majority (62%) of business leaders surveyed by KPMG indicated that their company should do more to strengthen existing data protection measures.

Popular collaboration apps and tools are also increasingly becoming custodians of enterprise data, collecting and in some cases sharing data mined from users. This creates a privacy disaster for enterprises in that poor privacy practices like these increases the likelihood of a data breach. According to data privacy platform Osano, companies with the least rigorous privacy practices are nearly twice as likely to experience accidental disclosures, hacking attacks, and other data-related incidents than companies with excellent data stewardship. And companies that are not rigorous about privacy practices also lose seven times the number of data records when they are breached.

Rigorous privacy practices are not generally associated with messaging and collaboration tools like WhatsApp, Slack and Microsoft Teams. WhatsApp has been collecting and sharing user information such as phone number, location and contacts with its parent company Facebook since 2016. Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom also create a privacy problem by collecting user contact information such as names and email addresses.

As such, enterprises using data collecting and sharing messaging and collaboration tools are putting privacy at risk by ceding control of data to these platforms.

Relying on applications like these for communication and collaboration with their inherent risk to privacy, not only increases the likelihood of data breaches, but introduces major compliance risks. And these compliance risks are growing as more and more governments enact data privacy regulations.

According to analyst firm Gartner, by 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10% in 2020. Gartner noted that “it is paramount that [organizations] incorporate the demands of a rapidly evolving privacy landscape into their business’s data strategy.”

As part of a privacy-first business data strategy, enterprises should evaluate their communications and collaborations tools in terms of their ability to maintain and protect privacy.

Privacy is most strongly protected when no data is collected. It’s simple, the less data that is collected, the less enterprises will have to worry about data exposure. NetSfere’s strict no data collection policy is privacy protection enterprises can count on. No data collection means no risk of data exposure.

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