5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Data Privacy Programme

Data is the lifeblood of a business.

No matter which industry you operate in, your company collects and manages a significant volume of data every day – which, over time, will inevitably add up to a colossal data cache. This type of data collection involves consumer data handled by B2C companies and sensitive data about your clients, vendors, and employees.

Simply put, a data privacy programme prevents the data you collect from falling into the wrong hands. Designing a programme of this scale involves a holistic approach that ties together each arm of your business and turns your company into a veritable data fortress.

A data programme should be on your to-do list rather than your wish list. Here’s why:

1. Holistic Protection Beyond Technology

The misconception that technology alone can secure data is a dangerous oversimplification.

A comprehensive data privacy programme encompasses compliance, technological infrastructure, and employee training. Businesses can establish a holistic approach to data protection by addressing these elements from various angles. This ensures that all aspects of the organisation work together seamlessly to create a robust defence against data breaches and prevent unauthorised access.

2. Training For All Levels of the Organisation

Creating a data privacy programme is not easy – it involves several levels of development, which we call a privacy lifecycle. Of course, the first step of this privacy lifecycle would involve understanding what type of data your organisation collects and how much you hold on to.

Training and awareness sit at every stage of this lifecycle. If you want your business to be a fortress, everyone who works for your company in any capacity will be its guardian. The training must cater to the diverse needs of different organisational roles. Even as employees come and go, the privacy programme remains sustainable, overseen by a dedicated privacy programme manager.

3. Avoids Media Scandals

The worst method to have heads turn your way is for your company’s name and ‘Data Breach’ to appear together in the same headline.

Businesses crumble under this type of scrutiny, given that it destroys their trust with their consumers and damages their sales and marketing (sometimes to a point of no recovery).

The fallout from a privacy breach can be catastrophic for a company’s reputation. For instance, consider how much bad press Deutsche Bank’s data breach generated, creating destructive headlines such as Deutsche Bank, ING, and Postbank impacted by MOVEit hack and speculation such as 60GB of Deutsche Bank data allegedly for sale on the dark web. This bad press can last for years after the breach and might forever impact how your clients and the general public view your brand.

4. Saves Billions in Fines & Financial Implications

You can’t play with fire if you’re afraid of getting burned.

Data privacy regulation is growing more stringent by the day, and both regulators and netizens keep a watchful eye on how your business protects sensitive data. Financially speaking, the consequences of violating data privacy regulations will be severe.

TikTok is the best example of this – the short-form video company was recently fined over 345 million euros over handling of children’s data in Europe for breaching a number of EU privacy laws. EU’s lead regulator, the DPC, has hit other tech giants with big fines, including a combined 2.5 billion euros levied on Meta (formerly Facebook).

However, the financial risks of not having a privacy programme extend beyond paying fines. It also encompasses the cost of remediating a breach, paying off bad actors, and addressing the media fallout. By proactively implementing a data privacy programme, businesses can minimise financial vulnerabilities and ensure a swift and effective response in the event of a breach.

5. A Business Imperative, Not an Option

Privacy compliance is as integral to a business as its sales strategy. In fact, privacy protection is the foundation of any business – if you have a data breach, all arms of your business will crumble, from marketing to sales to outreach.

Governments worldwide enforce strict regulations, and consumers demand transparency, making a well-structured privacy programme a vital and non-negotiable component of any organisation.

The stringency of local regulations and heightened public awareness have elevated data privacy from a “good-to-have” to a “must-have” for businesses. With a robust privacy programme in place, businesses can withstand ever-evolving threats, and remediation for any data breach would be quicker and less impactful. For instance, even Meta (formerly Facebook)’s 2.5 billion euro fine referenced above is likely to have been significantly greater if they had not had a robust privacy programme in place.

Pay Attention to the Fundamentals

The imperative for businesses to establish a comprehensive data privacy programme, coupled with ongoing training, cannot be overstated.

From protecting against legal and financial risks to fostering trust and transparency, a well-designed programme ensures that data remains secure, regardless of external threats. As businesses navigate an era of heightened privacy concerns, investing in a robust data privacy programme becomes a strategic decision and a fundamental necessity for its success.

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