2021 proved to be an eventful year for data security and privacy regulation. A huge spike in cyber-attacks, record-setting ransomware payments, strengthened data privacy laws – you name it. With private data being scattered across cloud, on-site and hybrid systems, it’s no surprise that the data privacy environment is getting ruthless every year.
However, multiple laws and regulations are pushing organizations to step up and improve their data governance and compliance with data privacy regulations, in a post-COVID, work-from-home landscape.
Among this uncertainty, disruption, and excitement- all at the same time, we’ll take a look at what to expect from data privacy regulations in 2022.
The rise of data privacy regulations
No other regulation has had such a global impact as the EU Global Data Protection Regulation. GDPR’s introduction firmly established the importance of data privacy in everyone’s mind, affecting data regulations decisions beyond the European Union.
Such was GDPR’s impact, other regions followed suit:
- China adopted the Personal Information Protection Law, months after going through a major cybersecurity reform, starting by cracking down on the e-commerce giant Alibaba, social media operator Tencent and ride-hailing service Didi.
- On July 1, South Africa introduced their Protection of Personal Information Act.
The full extent of GDPR’s strength was put into display – in July, Luxembourg’s NCDP imposed a whopping 746 million euro fine on Amazon, the biggest GDPR fine to date. To put it into perspective, Amazon’s fine surpassed the French Commission’s 50 million euro fine against Google and the Irish Data Protection Commission’s 225 million euro fine against WhatsApp – AND it’s more that the total of ALL the other GDPR fines that have been imposed ever since the law came into effect.
So, it’s no surprise organizations are scrambling to address the data privacy regulation requirements, with leading companies deciding to pledge billions in cyber security investments.
The Consumer Awakens
With an ever-growing list of regulations like GDPR, CCPA, HIPPA FCRA, organizations are beginning to use these laws as a foundation to meet the data privacy requirements and strengthen their data governance. The regulations ensure organizations take a good look into their data- how they store and process the data, improving their security and the trust consumers have in them.
Ideally, organizations should focus on disclosure and best practices, else consumers see them as not trustworthy and transparent, putting them at a risk of losing their consumers.
- Since last year, there has been a significant increase in privacy budgets, with the average budget being $873,000, and more than half of privacy pros expect their budgets to increase as well.
- Since the implementation of GDPR, the majority of the privacy pros find compliance with cross-border data laws their most difficult task.
- Firms chose to localize their data and stop data transfers as a result of the court of Justice of the EU’s “Schrems II” decision.
- The most common topic reported by the privacy team is data breaches, with 76% of teams reporting it to the higher authorities.
- The next most reported topics involved an organization’s level of compliance with privacy, data protection laws and progress on privacy initiatives.
Best practices to ensure data privacy
Adopting and implementing best practices are key to ensuring data privacy and security in an organization. By following the best practices, organizations can implement the best data privacy regulation in a streamlined manner. Some of the practices include;
- Minimum data collection – Organizations must ensure that only necessary data is collected, while ensuring its safe disposal after use. By minimizing data collection, organizations can reduce storage costs as well.
- Maximum transparency – We value our privacy. And so should organizations. It’s important that people know how their data is stored and processed. So, organizations must offer the customers the option to provide their consent in the data collection process.
- Data inventory – Organizations should create an inventory of data and classify it, depending on its sensitivity. By knowing what data is collected, how it is being handled and how it is stored, organizations can implement security and data privacy regulations around it.
- Training – It is high time data privacy and security get their due importance in an organization’s work culture. Every employee within an organization should be given sufficient training about best practices, data privacy regulations, privacy requirements and relevant data principles.
Privacy regulations: A New Hope
The existence of privacy regulation laws has allowed people to believe that the concept of privacy still exists. IT admins also believe the regulations offer far more advantages than disadvantages.
I believe it was Pocahontas who said “ Sometimes, the right path isn’t always the easiest ”, and it can be applied here as well.
The basic privacy laws being advocated and passed won’t be able to fix everything. Given the complex nature of the data and its existence, there’s plenty more that could and should be done.
But these laws provide the basic protection against data mining, while building a foundation for more privacy regulations. Basically, these laws exist so that you can browse through a website without a company collecting data on you, more than you can realize.
In today’s environment, organizations should see data governance as a crucial element, rather than a tick-in-the box feature. Balancing regulatory requirements, following best practices to ensure data is protected no matter where it is moved should be a top priority for organizations.
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