Data Privacy as a Discipline – Cyberarch

  • November 30, 2021
  • By Cyberarch Admin

Today, we are living in the information age, where the world’s economy is dependent upon Information Technology. Also known as the digital age, this period in history has seen the sharing of personal data or information via digital mediums like never before. This is where data privacy has gained importance. With growing instances of cyberattacks, stealing of online information and leaking of personal data, there is an urgent need to adopt robust data privacy measures. Businesses using personal user data need to be extra cautious and develop a cyber security defence approach to negate the emerging and vastly sophisticated cyber threats.

What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy can be understood as the use of private data or information only for its intended purpose. It can also be defined as the right of an individual to have control over how personal data is used. For example, people all across the world today share sensitive data to avail a wide range of services both offline and online. Sharing of personal details, bank account information, card details are now common. However, if this enormous data leaks or is used for illegal purposes, it can have drastic consequences. Thus, data privacy as a discipline is of immense importance to business organizations and entities using user data. 

Adopting Data Privacy as a Discipline

Most often, companies integrate data privacy only as a means to comply with data privacy rules laid down by authorities and governments. It helps in avoiding hefty penalties and even prison time. But, it is important to note that data privacy as a discipline has far more benefits than just escaping penalties. 

Data leaks can have far-reaching consequences because it can contain personal user data as well corporate information and trade secrets. Financial losses can be staggering, to say the least. Hackers can also ask for a huge ransom in return for the hacked sensitive data. Moreover, data breaches can severely harm the brand reputation and trust factor among customers. Plus, as mentioned before, businesses will be able to prevent revenue loss and financial loss due to security risks. 

It is high time that companies should take a proactive role in developing a data privacy culture at the workplace, powered by a strong data privacy team to defend against potential cyber-attacks. The first step is to have a serious discussion about data privacy, followed by the assessment of existing preparedness against the latest cyber threats and finally deciding the approach. 

Building Data Privacy Culture

Scope

First and foremost, know that data privacy is an individual right in the UN as well as governing documents of various countries. Thus, you can imagine how wide the scope of data privacy is, and you must develop your strategy accordingly. Also, you must consider the scope of your business in the world. Different countries have different rules and regulations regarding data privacy. The definition of personal data and its applicability may also vary. Remember, the countries have states with different local laws that govern data privacy. Therefore, as a business with a global presence, it is imperative to develop a data privacy program keeping all these factors in mind. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Many companies have the wrong view that data privacy is the sole responsibility of IT and security teams. But in reality, the roles and responsibilities must be taken by a chief privacy officer who can take all the major decisions. Representatives from other departments such as legal, IT, security should be on the same page and assist each other in developing data privacy initiatives. 

Legal Requirements

As mentioned before, legal requirements can be quite complex. Therefore, you must have a dedicated team looking into the data privacy legal requirements. As we live in a drastically changing cyber security landscape, different governments are enacting new laws, rules and regulations frequently. Thus, the expert team should be agile and always update the company about compliance requirements to avoid legal hassles. 

Internal Communication and Compliance

Also, the necessity to meet legal norms must be ingrained in the culture of the organization so that every employee can always follow best practices. This can be achieved by extensive internal communication and awareness about compliance. In many cases, there are compliance gaps, lack of clear policies and procedures which exposes data privacy. These loopholes can be exploited by hackers and cybercriminals. Thus, special attention must be given to internal communication and compliance. 

Monitoring

Continuous monitoring is of vital importance when it comes to data privacy. Compliance with laws and regulations may not be enough in the future. Therefore, the mechanism should be placed to understand the dynamics of security and the intentions of authorities. This will help in implementing effective data privacy measures without much hassle. The Chief Privacy Officer would need to enhance the existing security designs. Similarly, all departments must integrate data privacy standards in all the processes. 

Overview of Data Privacy in the US & Europe

Data privacy is of high importance in the US. The protection of data is governed by federal and state laws, which are designed for different sectors such as personal health data, education, children information, and financial data. Each of these sectors has unique consent and disclosure mechanism. European data privacy is quite different from that of the US. A single data privacy law governs the whole European Economic Area (EEA). Detailed regulatory scheme known as the GDPR governs how user data is used in the EEA and the transfer of the same data outside of EEA. Another significant difference is that European laws consider data privacy as a private or human right, which is unlike the US where it is considered more in relation to businesses and consumers.

Best Practices

Some of the best practices that businesses can use to adopt data privacy as a discipline include a holistic approach towards data privacy, a clear understanding of what, why, how, and where of the data stored, strong policies and regularly updating it as per needs. More transparency and disclosure of how data is used should be considered. Also, business leaders should be having a better idea about the security and privacy policies of third party vendors using the data.  

Future of Data Privacy 

Experts opine that data privacy will certainly mean serious business for everyone in the world, right from governments, authorities to businesses, industry leaders and workers. Greater focus will be given to the protection and rights of the individual. Multiple experiments are already happening and hopefully, the world will have a better standard developed for data privacy.

In an age where everything around is based on data, businesses will need to up their data privacy measures, in keeping with the latest happenings, trends and changes in rules and regulations. Businesses should hire talents with high capabilities in privacy and security matters or partner with established companies to develop advanced data privacy programs. This will eventually help businesses to have peace of mind and concentrate more on their company goals.

 

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