Practically everything consumers do online — shopping, paying bills and signing up for new services — requires some level of personal data sharing or changing privacy settings. Consumers need to feel that your organization’s digital experiences are worth trusting and that their data will be used for only its intended purpose and kept safe. This means that you have to ask for consumers’ consent in a way that is easy to use and substantiates that trust. Otherwise, they may be quick to abandon your experience and turn to your competitor.
Consent Management Helps Customers and Businesses
As a guiding principle, make sure your customers know who is in control of their data and how their data is being used. Clearly define the levels of consent the consumer needs to approve prior to data usage. This means offering the right chances for opt-in or opt-out upfront. Once an account is created, consumers should be able to self-service their profile management with the ability to edit, delete and export data or modify their consent, maintaining an audit record of changes in the background. Your platform must also acknowledge and execute these changes in real-time, not three days after the user changed their profile. To support data subject rights, self-service is a must because the scale of consumer profile attributes is simply too large for support personnel to service well.
Global regulations insert some forced urgency to the privacy and consent management issue. Privacy requirements vary by location, with some stricter than others, yet organizations must follow each region’s rules in which they operate or risk hefty penalties and fines. A bit of thoughtful planning and purposeful placement can really reduce the stress from these evolving privacy laws. While the laws can get detailed, at a basic level they also provide an incentive for protection and risk personnel to keep their consumers’ data safe. A good consumer identity and access management (CIAM) program can help tackle them.
While privacy laws go into detail regarding what organizations are required to do, they don’t often provide specific instructions about how to get there. Often, data piles up in silos or requires multiple integration points across marketing systems. For those influencing or implementing privacy and consent management, this makes it even more complex.
A proper CIAM solution acts as a single point of truth for all personally identifiable information (PII). Marketers want to capture as much consumer data as possible, while defense and risk teams prefer to limit that data to the absolute minimum. In this case, an aligned strategy and unified management system can help provide guidance and clarity. Privacy and compliance experts can define rules and policies across various consent management purposes to lessen the need for technical team members to understand compliance. Privacy officers can create consent templates that technical workers simply apply across all apps, with the right level of detail to follow specific location and field standards.
Moving Beyond Spreadsheets
It is tempting to throw spreadsheets at every problem, but they won’t be able to meet the dynamic reality of privacy laws. Privacy and compliance experts may work with legal counterparts for tracking and building processes, policies and procedures. However, by the time they have updated their Excel spreadsheet, it may already be out of date. Teams should move beyond manual lists and SharePoint review rounds by having a more automated process for the evolving laws and a centralized management system.
Implementing Consent Management
Even if privacy and compliance experts know the laws they need to follow and update policy according to them, how can they be sure updates are put in place correctly, even more so across several apps?
Privacy officers and developers may not speak the same language, so the policies must be easy to consume and use to ensure they are followed correctly. With a centralized management approach through a CIAM solution, consent rules can be created once and then applied across all apps through simple application programming interfaces. It captures updates on its own and doesn’t leave any room for mistakes. Plus, development experts will like the abstraction of detail; they are likely not privacy experts and will be glad to return to core app work.
With the right CIAM solution, consent management and evolving privacy laws can be more approachable. At the end of the day, these initiatives aren’t just a checkbox for compliance. Organizations can develop a new mindset that is all about consumer respect and trust, in which proper consent management contributes to the overall goal of improving online experiences. You can read more about CIAM strategies, deployment methods, pitfalls and best practices here:
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Associate Partner - Global CIAM Leader, IBM Security
Martijn Loderus is an Associate Partner for IBM Security Services. He leads IBM Security’s Global Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) Services p...