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7 Top Data Privacy Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

Is keeping up with data privacy developments important for your business?

The digital era came with increased access to information and improved connectivity. But with this great power, came an even greater responsibility on businesses in regards to data management. 

How we use consumers’ data over the years has significantly changed as more people wish to safeguard their online privacy under the influence of data privacy concerns. Its value to business managers in driving marketing and sales cannot be emphasized enough.

But what happens when consumers equally discover the value of their personal data? 

According to an RSA Data Security and Privacy survey, 70% of respondents feel protective about the privacy of their identity information.

With a large percentage of consumers needing data protection, you shouldn’t be surprised by numerous changes in data privacy practices to meet their demands. As a business manager, taking note of these data privacy trends is crucial. 

In this article, we’ll look at seven top data privacy trends to watch out for in 2021.

1. Increase in Data Privacy Regulations

Many of us built our digital habits at a time when the internet was quite simple. We used social media platforms to connect, online shopping platforms to buy products, and blogs as online journals.

However, the internet became more complex as enterprises realized the value of data.

Profiling became common as companies thrived at collecting personal data to use for evaluation and prediction of people’s actions for better decision making.

Early 2018, Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm was exposed for using Facebook private data to influence elections in numerous countries. The world witnessed the destructive power of unregulated data collection and usage which led to the rise of data privacy regulations.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into action in the EU shortly after the scandal set off a data privacy regulations trend. Its principal focus was to promote lawfulness, transparency, and confidentiality of personal data

data privacy future trends data privacy regulations

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) also has become a guiding framework for organizations residing in California. Other countries such as India, China, and Brazil have also come up with national privacy protection acts.

Regulations are data privacy trends that greatly impact any digital company. As an online business manager whose operations include the collection of user data, you ought to keep up with these constantly evolving regulations.

Gartner predicts that by 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations.

If you care about keeping your customers long enough, it’s critical to work with a data regulations expert to ensure company compliance henceforth is critical.

2. Imposition of  Bigger Fines by Regulatory Bodies

What’s the essence of data privacy regulations if they cannot be enforced?

In tandem with the data privacy trends of constantly evolving regulations, governments have inclined into slapping noncompliant organizations with large fines.

It’s been almost 3 years since the first set of modern data privacy regulations swung into action and governments are firmly past the transition stage. They, therefore, expect local organizations to comply with data regulations or contend with fines.

As of September 2021, EU authorities have imposed fines of over $ 1 billion with the biggest fine being $877 million imposed on Amazon for failure to get cookie consent from customers.

Meanwhile, a study by Finbold discovered a 113% surge in the number of GDPR fines despite strict regulations.

This suggests that organizations are rarely updating their data privacy policies to comply with regulations and are thus caught off guard by regulation officers.

global data privacy trends bigger fines

The time for playing hide and seek games with authorities is over. Expect supervisory authorities ‘knocking down’ your doors soon if you don’t invest in data privacy regulation compliance.

But that should be the least of your concern as the fines you might accrue for noncompliance could take you out of business.

Whether a violation is intentional or unintentional, you’ll still be fined. The CCPA fines businesses a maximum civil penalty of $2500 for unintentional violations and $7500 for intentional violations.

An increase in fines is one of the critical data privacy trends 2021 you need to focus on.

As a reserve for the executive-level management, it’s necessary to have an expert Chief Data Officer who can overlook data privacy compliance and prevent unnecessary confrontations with the law.

3. Growth of Data Privacy Automation Technology

Data privacy regulation compliance is a complex task that requires you to be well updated and to constantly review regulations to identify the slightest nuances.

Ideally, it would take several experts hired on a full-time basis to undertake this gargantuan task and keep an enterprise perfectly aligned with data privacy regulations. That’s a cost not many businesses want to incur.

With the rise of artificial intelligence and robots, it’s no surprise that automation has made its way into data privacy technology and is one of the most impactful future trends in data privacy.

According to DLA Piper, the average daily number of notifications of data regulation breaches stood at 331 alerts as of January 2020 and they continue to rise.

In addition, the average cost of data breaches averages at 8.64 million according to a Ponemon Institute study.

data privacy industry trends data privacy automation

Whatever you can do to keep up with these constantly evolving regulations, and avoid the hefty fines, it’s well worth the investment.

Automation technology is among the top data privacy industry trends to watch out for in 2021.

Data integrity software can help you respond to privacy requests, group data into categories, prioritize and comply with reporting requirements. Consequently, you’ll hire a single data expert to take care of compliance.

By implementing a privacy management tool in its data-intensive processes, Western Union was able to reduce the cost of legacy systems and achieve self-sufficiency among its team members.

If you’re inclined towards more savings, you can implement AI-powered tools that use advanced artificial intelligence to extract regulation terms and recommend changes in your policies periodically.

 4. Increased Public Awareness on Data Value

Mainstream media and digital media have played an integral role in the dissemination of data privacy scandals over the past decade.

Breaches such as Cambridge Analytica and Yahoo 2017 data breach, have brought attention to internet users on the importance of data privacy. 

Consumers are now more aware of the value of their private data. As such public awareness is part of the significant global data privacy trends 2021.

According to a survey by Ping Identity, 75% of respondents will not engage with a brand online following a data breach. In addition, 54% said they were more concerned about protecting their personal information more than they were the previous year.

Besides the cost of data privacy violation, your company can suffer reputation damage and potentially lose customers following a simple data breach.

personal data privacy trends public awareness

Consumers are demanding more transparency and accountability from companies on how they use their data. In addition, they are continuously avoiding companies that don’t appear to prioritize data privacy.

As a business manager, you should create more transparent policies about how and why you collect data. Internet users are aware of personal data privacy trends. Failing to cater to this public outcry might disqualify you from a significant portion of potential customers.

According to a Ponemon Institute study, Facebook lost 66% user confidence after the Cambridge Analytica expose. The institution which has been tracking data privacy for two decades found out that consumers are very concerned about data privacy.

Loss of consumer trust impacts businesses differently. For your business, it can mean a significant loss of customers. Hence, you should take note of your customers’ demands on data privacy and implement transparent policies.

5. Remote Workforce Shift Has Improved Data Technology 

When the Covid19 pandemic hit, and governments were consequently forced to impose curfews to regulate its spread, many organizations had to alter the fundamental business operations.

At the core of these changes was the shift from office work to remote work which has affected one of the latest trends in data privacy.

The technologies implemented to facilitate remote work were at first not well developed to ensure data privacy. Bad actors searched for loopholes and exploited insecure connections and cybersecurity loopholes to breach customers’ data.

For instance, Protenus, a healthcare compliance analytics company reported 40 million patient records were breached in 2020. The hackers gained access to health systems and acquired sensitive patient data such as donor information and patient contact data.

In response, organizations embarked on more robust compliance and data privacy programs and invested in cybersecurity solutions for data storage and protection.

data privacy and security trends remote workforce

Remote workforce technology improvements are significant data privacy future trends.

Organizations are continuing to embrace remote workers. From better productivity of workers to fewer costs on businesses, the benefits of a remote workforce will only result in a growth in the number of teleworkers.

Yet still, we cannot ignore the challenges of remote work environments.

The challenge, therefore, is to strike a balance by coming up with hybrid work policies that are accommodative for both systems. More caution should be put on the weakest links such as off-site passwords to secure data and uphold transparency.

If you already have or are considering hiring remote workers, you should determine how you’ll manage compliance and productivity without sacrificing data privacy. Consider using a VPN to safeguard your network’s and prevent hackers from evesdropping.

For a start, ensure you use collaboration tools with transparent data privacy practices.

6. Elimination of Data Graveyards

In the wake of digital transformation, many organizations began collecting consumer data.

With the presence of data analytics tools for both structured and unstructured data, these enterprises knew they could analyze data when needed. Hence they focused on collecting as much data as they could.

However, today, most of this data is stored away collecting digital dust. Data graveyards are jeopardizing data utilization and have become a financial burden to companies.

Most significantly, your data storage facility will be subject to cyberattacks from bad actors who know the value of your data. Verizon’s study found that 86% of data breaches in 2020 were financially motivated.

In addition, part of data privacy regulations focuses on data retention and data removal policies. For instance, GDPR states that personal data may only be kept in a form that permits identification of the individual for no longer than is necessary for the intended purpose.

Meanwhile, it imposes high fines for non-compliant data retention schedules, for instance, the 14.5 million Euros fine on Deutsche Wohnen recommended by the Berlin commissioner for data protection.

latest trends in data privacy data graveyards

Companies rarely comply with data retention and removal policies, especially outside data privacy protection regions.

Yet as consumer awareness of data privacy continues to rise and regulatory bodies enhance their supervisory operations, companies will have to comply and get rid of data graveyards.

Besides high storage and maintenance costs, you’ll have to contend with several other challenges of keeping data graveyards.

Defining data retention periods for every data set in your business is one of the crucial data privacy and security trends.

7. Data Privacy Job Market Growth.

Data privacy regulation is a reserve for a few individuals based on the expertise required and a few people willing to venture into the industry.

Before data privacy became a major public issue and governments started enforcing regulations on the same, data regulations professionals were seen as non-crucial contributors to business operations.

But the data industry landscape has changed.

The data privacy job market is growing fast as companies strive to find privacy-oriented data professionals to ensure compliance and data security.

According to the Bureau of Labour and Statistics, information security analysts’ job outlook will grow by 31% through 2029.

The current worker shortage in the privacy industry is already impacting companies negatively as governments rush to enforce regulations.

To counter this deficit, organizations have turned to train existing employees on privacy-centric policies and practices. They conduct in-house training and outsourcing to equip their employees with knowledge and skills to ensure compliance with privacy policies.

emerging trends in data privacy online privacy jobs

But I still believe that the data privacy trend 2021 will include the increased demand for data privacy experts even as companies find innovative solutions to fill the vacuum.

According to research by Axios, privacy and data protection-related jobs hiring on LinkedIn increased by 77% from 2016 to 2019. These statistics shed light on the rapid growth of the privacy profession and expanding role of data privacy professionals across the world.

As a business manager, you need to either introduce privacy-centric training in your business operations or look hard for data privacy professionals to help you with compliance and data security. 

On the other hand, such emerging trends in data privacy bring great business opportunities for you if you operate in the data management industry.

Conclusion

Data privacy is an integral part of every business with an online presence. How you collect and use consumer data shouldn’t violate people’s right to privacy.

These seven top data privacy trends to watch out for in 2021 should be your starting point for implementing data regulation compliances, promoting consumer data protection, and cost reduction for data management.

As governments continue implementing data protection regulations and more advanced technologies such as data privacy automation come into place, organizations that embrace data privacy will be well-positioned for business growth.

Every individual has the right to own, transfer and monetize their personal data. These data privacy trends 2021 will shape the future of online data management.

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