Modern privacy regulations are founded on a variety of principles going back to 1890 that sought to protect citizens from “yellow journalism.” Over the following years, governments enacted legislation that sought to respect an individual’s right to privacy, including their image and their correspondence.

Following an uptick in data breaches over the past few years, there has been a resurgence of concern around data privacy that has resulted in a spate of new regulations, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais (LGPD). As a result, organizations are now scrambling to figure out the processes and controls needed to support specific compliance requirements and protect the personal data they store, in part because those requirements have specific due dates, potential fines and punitive implications.

Data Privacy Is the New Strategic Priority for Organizations

According to a recent study from Forrester Research commissioned by IBM, 75 percent of organizations identify data privacy as a strategic imperative, yet only 28 percent of survey respondents have complete confidence in their ongoing ability to comply with emerging data privacy regulations. Among the top barriers to sustained compliance are, in fact, attempts to address data privacy compliance in a piecemeal approach as well as ambiguity as to what it means to be compliant. Moreover, the rate of change is overtaking the capacity to respond and maintain data privacy compliance.

Those organizations that do have heightened confidence in their ongoing ability to achieve data privacy compliance follow three key tactics, according to the survey. They take a holistic, proactive approach to compliance; utilize automation tools to simplify and streamline data risk assessments, protection and breach response; and they supplement internal expertise with external partners to help accelerate, scale and execute on their data privacy programs.

Download the Forrester Research report, “Data Privacy Is The New Strategic Priority”

Protecting Personal Data Is a Journey

The reality is that compliance is a journey for organizations that take a strategic approach to data privacy and protection. This journey should start with an assessment of the data risk landscape. This includes reviewing and updating data governance standards and policies, visualizing and mapping how and where the organization’s data is stored and how it flows and is shared across the organization, as well as assessing existing data security, risk and privacy controls and their capabilities.

The next stage of the journey utilizes automation to classify sensitive personal data across the organization, including on-premises and cloud data stores around the globe. As part of this process, it’s important to be able to identify high-risk databases and existing data access and entitlement rights and analyze data usage patterns that may indicate suspicious behavior.

This information can be used to help determine any gaps in the security and compliance posture and to prioritize remediation efforts, such as updating access policies to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access, monitoring activities to uncover suspicious behavior in real time and taking action to remediate data breaches. Additionally, controls such as encryption can be deployed to safeguard sensitive personal data.

Promote Privacy, Build Trust and Grow the Business

Holistic programs — ones that are proactive, strategic and global in scope — deliver benefits beyond compliance. According to the Forrester survey, they include enhanced customer trust (41 percent of respondents), improved compliance (38 percent), improved data governance practices (37 percent) and improved customer retention (36 percent).

Ultimately, customers are more likely to do business, and do more business, with companies they trust to protect their personal data.

Learn how to build a strong data privacy program

More from Data Protection

Cybersecurity 101: What is Attack Surface Management?

There were over 4,100 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2022, exposing about 22 billion records. Criminals can use stolen data for identity theft, financial fraud or to launch ransomware attacks. While these threats loom large on the horizon, attack surface management (ASM) seeks to combat them. ASM is a cybersecurity approach that continuously monitors an organization’s IT infrastructure to identify and remediate potential points of attack. Here’s how it can give your organization an edge. Understanding Attack Surface Management Here…

Six Ways to Secure Your Organization on a Smaller Budget

My LinkedIn feed has been filled with connections announcing they have been laid off and are looking for work. While it seems that no industry has been spared from uncertainty, my feed suggests tech has been hit the hardest. Headlines confirm my anecdotal experience. Many companies must now protect their systems from more sophisticated threats with fewer resources — both human and technical. Cobalt’s 2022 The State of Pentesting Report found that 90% of short-staffed teams are struggling to monitor…

The Importance of Modern-Day Data Security Platforms

Data is the backbone of businesses and companies everywhere. Data can range from intellectual property to critical business plans to personal health information or even money itself. At the end of the day, businesses are looking to grow revenue, innovate, and operationalize but to do that, they must ensure that they leverage their data first because of how important and valuable it is to their organization. No matter the industry, the need to protect sensitive and personal data should be…

Meeting Today’s Complex Data Privacy Challenges

Pop quiz: Who is responsible for compliance and data privacy in an organization? Is it a) the security department, b) the IT department, c) the legal department, d) the compliance group or e) all of the above? If you answered "all of the above," you are well-versed in the complex world of compliance and data privacy! While compliance is a complex topic, the patchwork of regulations imposed by countries, regions, states and industries further compounds it. This complexity has turned…