Privacy design is much more than simple data protection. This is a comprehensive privacy and security approach that runs seamlessly across all the systems, operations, and infrastructure that the organization depends on. It raises sharp questions about the way companies collect, store, and manage information, and it will not stop until the answer is clear. In short, privacy design is a response to the growing demand for data transparency and accountability, but it is proactive.
What makes privacy design a must, not an option?
It can show that “by design” is just a way to solve privacy concerns, so companies are not required to use it. Understanding the flaws in this argument requires a more in-depth study of its implications.
If your actions are not designed for privacy, then by definition your security method is a temporary method. This basically means addressing data protection issues only when they arise. It is feasible to go this route and still maintain compliance and avoid major problems, at least for a time. The problem is, you never know when that moment will come.
This is a dilemma that companies cannot avoid. There is an urgent need to innovate and embrace technology to remain relevant, but information management still resembles a wild and unpredictable frontier. Today’s economy is all about data, and every interaction between business and data represents opportunities and threats.
Here are some of the dangers of the “data frontier”:
The “need for speed” that accompanies information sharing often leads to recklessness.
data doesn’t just land somewhere and stay there. It is dynamic, mobile, and often reused; in other words, it is easy to “misplace.”
Data is created and accessed in millions of unique locations, and each location can be destroyed, ignored, or deliberately used for malicious purposes.
These are just a few examples of easily mismanaged data, the consequences of which can be devastating. Privacy and data protection policies are under increasing scrutiny from all angles, including legislators, regulators, investors, internal stakeholders, and consumers themselves. In other words, when one link in the privacy chain breaks, it’s not pretty and it can cost you.
Penalties are not always consistent with crimes. It is well known that large companies like Equifax and Facebook can ignore large-scale privacy scandals, but what is less known is the tragic reality facing small businesses: a data breach can easily cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars, which means permanent closure.
This is the source of the obligation. Although it is technically possible to protect data in a decentralized and selective manner, doing so is harmful to all those who invest in its success, from financial partners to employees, and especially to its customers. The bottom line is this: any strategy that does not involve design privacy will only leave too many opportunities.
Does “by design” mean that it is too late for organizations with established systems and protocols?
The hypothesis is fair based on the wording alone, but the actual answer is no. Just because an organization hasn’t worked on privacy from the start doesn’t mean it has to be satisfied with something “good enough.” In fact, the design of privacy is actually based on constant updates, because with the development of technology, the way data is captured, processed, and stored is also changing. However, building from scratch is an intense process that requires a cross-functional approach.
For organizations looking to take a leap, the first step is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of data practices at all touchpoints. Where is the data? How does it arrive, how long does it stay and who can visit it? Are our collection and ownership transparent? Does the company really need this data? Once all these (and more) questions are answered, a process can be undertaken to integrate the system and adjust policies comprehensively.
Whether you are designing privacy as part of a support strategy or overhauling an existing system, you must always focus on the user experience. No one wants to leave valuables outside, but they also don’t want a safe that takes an hour to open. Internal and external customers are the core of any business. Patiently finding solutions to ensure their safety and contribute to a positive, frictionless experience is the key to keeping them in close contact.
The Trust Factor
Breaking the law is bad for business, even if it is unintentional. Similarly, trying to extinguish privacy-related fires generally consumes cash in the process, which can put the company in a very nervous dilemma. However, the most difficult thing to recover is the breach of trust caused by these two things. After all, legal problems will be easily solved and there will always be more money to solve, but as the Humpty Dumpty fable shows, there are some things that all the resources in the world cannot solve.
This means that companies must protect their reputations at all costs, and in the context of data protection, the answer is the privacy of design. Those who accept it sooner or later can become the future leaders of their industry.
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