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Part 3 of a 6-Part Series

Our personal data has many dimensions – all of which can be cross-related and mapped in ways that no one could have imagined a few years ago. Take, for example, browsing history: when combined with purchase transactions, travel itineraries, text messages, and forum posts, companies gain a complete profile of a customer’s social and business contacts, interests, likes, dislikes, and preferences.

Raising the bar on data trust

On the one hand, people want to be helped and served, and the brands they entrust want their customers happy and engaged. Yet, divulging such personal data can come at a great cost – and customers are keenly aware of this fact.

This data privacy paradox has led to adopting a range of regulations and restrictions over the last couple of years. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are just two of the latest mandates putting in place mechanisms that shield citizens from predatory acquisition, use, sharing, and selling of personal data. And these global, federal, and state mandates are certainly not going to be the last as governments worldwide deal with the increasing sophistication of data-driven technologies and business models.

Finding an edge with compliance

Complying with the unique terms of every regulation, such as GDPR and CCPA, may be challenging. But once businesses implement the fundamentals of privacy with a proper design strategy and controls to help ensure every changing requirement is followed, compliance becomes easier. Employees know that they are using consumer data for the right reasons. Regulators are given proof that the exemplary practices are in place instead of having to go and chase down evidence. Additionally, consumers can rest assured that their personal information is not abused.

In many ways, compliance with data privacy and protection rules accelerates a much-needed transformation for moving forward in a data-rich world. Everything from how personal information is captured, processed, stored, and used in applications must change to take advantage of artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, and process automation.

Balancing innovation with data privacy can be an ordeal when dealing with the pressure to deliver always-relevant products, services, business models, and customer experiences. But businesses that accomplish this task well are the ones proactively embedding privacy into the design, operation, and management of their IT systems, network infrastructures, business processes, and best practices. This framework is what we call "privacy by design."

Setting a higher standard with privacy by design

The privacy by design framework comprises seven foundational principles:

  1. Model data privacy proactively, not reactively

  2. Make privacy the default in application development

  3. Built-in privacy components directly into the system

  4. Retain full functionality of the application without compromising data privacy

  5. Maintain end-to-end security throughout the application lifecycle

  6. Ensure data privacy and protection is transparent, measurable, and auditable

  7. Keep consumer privacy at the center of every innovation, update, and migration

Following this framework enables businesses to give consumers the visibility and control they demand to ensure their information is safe. But there is an added advantage: the opportunity to innovate without eroding consumer trust. Businesses can boost their brand reputations by demonstrating sustainable practices and compliance goodwill, getting ahead of data breach incidents, and embracing independent auditing of data privacy and security controls.

More importantly, consumers are given the freedom to engage in digital interactions and shopping experiences without feeling surveilled and bombarded by a wave of needless ads and manipulated search results, which clearly misuse personal data. Instead, marketing promotions and messages are organically delivered with consumers in control.

Respecting data privacy, respecting the consumer

People give data to define their brand experience, and businesses use it to serve customers better. Yet, this unequivocal contract of trust can be broken so easily because personal data has tremendous power, giving anyone who acquires this information the intelligence to influence and target specific individuals.

When businesses care about keeping data secure as much as their consumers do, the bottom line and growth in brand loyalty will reflect it. Consumers who trust a brand are willing to buy more often and in greater volume per transaction and share their experiences with their connections. And perhaps more advantageous is their willingness to provide more information that gives marketers real-time insights into market dynamics and the ability to pinpoint more-effective offers.

Without question, the regulatory landscape of data privacy and protection will change rapidly and unexpectedly over the next several years. But now is the moment to think long term. By connecting the dots between data privacy and consumer trust as early as possible, businesses will reap a significant competitive edge, whether reeling from economic uncertainty or ramping up for recovery. 

Want to know how SAP can help? Learn about SAP Solution Extensions from BigID.

Did you miss Blog #1 in the Data Privacy and Protection series? Read about building trustworthy experiences with your customers’ personal data.

Did you miss Blog #2 in the Data Privacy and Protection series? Read how data privacy and protection are reshaping the nature of mergers and acquisitions.