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Data Privacy

What data privacy has to do with business risk — and how to tackle both today

DataGrail, March 9, 2023

In the age of personalization, when people fundamentally believe that privacy is a human right, businesses are focused on minimizing risk — be it in response to the changing economic climate, shifting regulatory requirements, or increasing competition. With the proliferation of digital technologies, businesses collect and store vast amounts of sensitive data, including personal information about customers and employees. 

Failure to adequately protect this personal information can harm a company’s reputation and financial health. As such, strengthening data privacy is not only a legal and ethical obligation but also a crucial aspect of managing business risk in today’s digital landscape.

The many faces of business risk

Solving for data privacy ensures companies of all kinds can effectively tackle financial, operational, reputational, compliance, and strategic risks.

Financial risk: When businesses collect and store personal information from customers or employees, they have a responsibility to keep that data secure and protected. Failure to do so can lead to legal and regulatory penalties, damage to the company’s reputation, and loss of customer trust. Additionally, data breaches can result in direct financial costs like fines and legal fees, as well as indirect costs, such as lost business opportunities and decreased productivity.

Operational risk: If consumer or employee data is lost or stolen, it can result in operational disruptions like system downtime or loss of critical data needed to carry out business functions. This can cause delays, reduce productivity, and increase costs.

Reputational risk: Customers expect companies to handle their personal information with care and respect. If a company fails to adequately protect its customers’ data and suffers a breach, it can lead to negative publicity, loss of trust, and reputational damage. This can result in customers switching to competitors, reduced sales, and ultimately, financial losses. Reputational damage can also impact a company’s ability to attract and retain talented employees, suppliers, and business partners.

Compliance risk: Many countries and jurisdictions have laws and regulations in place that govern how companies must collect, store, use, and protect personal data. Chief among them are Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA/CPRA. Failing to comply with these laws and regulations can result in significant legal and financial penalties, as well as reputational damage. Non-compliance can also result in the loss of customers who are concerned about their privacy and want to do business with companies that respect their rights.

Strategic risk: Businesses rely on data and business intelligence to make strategic decisions, such as identifying new market opportunities, improving products or services, and optimizing operations. However, if the data is inaccurate, incomplete, or unprotected, it can lead to flawed decision-making and missed opportunities. Data breaches can also impact a company’s ability to execute strategic goals by damaging its reputation and customer trust, resulting in lost business opportunities and revenue.

Getting the big picture view of data privacy as a strategic guide for handling business risk

When equipped with a Privacy Control Center or privacy dashboard, businesses can assess the use of sensitive personal data and the related risks in real time. A dashboard view of data privacy allows legal, security, and executive teams to monitor the status and impact of common privacy workflows, like data mapping, inventorying third-party applications and internal systems, handling data subject requests (DSRs), and completing records of processing activities (RoPAs) and privacy assessments (DPIAs, PIAs).

The world’s most trusted brands know business risk is avoidable only if they understand where personal data is stored and how it’s used. After all, for average consumers, expectations around data privacy seem obvious: Nobody is allowed to see their data unless they say so. Organizations that deliver on that promise — and mitigate operational, compliance, and strategic risks — create live data maps, keep an up-to-date system inventory, and use a dashboard to monitor the quantity and quality of those resources. The dashboard is a must-have for drilling down into the systems that store personal data, which is a requirement for fulfilling PIAs and generating RoPAs.

Understanding the landscape of your privacy risk (data mapping and system inventorying) is only helpful if it powers critical business processes, like DSR management. As mandated by privacy legislation like GDPR and CCPA/CPRA, consumers and employees have the right to obtain a copy of their personal information by filing a DSR. Between legislative requirements and the fact that 85% of consumers want to know which businesses collect data about them and how they use it, organizations are incentivized to respond quickly to DSRs. Organizations relying on a dashboard to automatically prioritize the most important and time-sensitive requests exceed customer expectations and avoid financial, reputational, and compliance risks.

Solving for data privacy means comprehensively understanding and mitigating risk

Business risk doesn’t wait around and neither should your legal, security, privacy, or executive teams. Become proactive about business risk by using a dashboard that prioritizes your team’s most critical privacy work, surfaces insights to demonstrate impact, and aligns your business on data privacy’s ROI.

“Privacy is in the DNA of business risk. It’s the canary in the coal mine,” says Daniel Barber, co-founder & CEO of DataGrail. “If you’re not solving for privacy, you’re not holistically addressing business health. Understanding it — and taking action to improve your privacy posture — is critical to reducing your overall business risk and upholding trust.” Crucially, DataGrail delivers responsible automation and the industry’s largest integration network for data privacy to address the broadest set of business risk concerns at the highest quality possible.

Lack of visibility into privacy programs has been a consistent problem, as many companies are forced to manually consolidate data from multiple sources to get the big picture. This is not only time-consuming, but it makes it much more difficult to spot issues, identify risks, and understand trends. A privacy dashboard instantly surfaces insights and introduces actionable recommendations to reduce risk. Legal and security teams can easily prioritize their most critical privacy work and demonstrate the impact of their program on the overall business.

Why a Privacy Control Center should be a core feature of your business strategy

For legal and security teams, having visibility into data privacy management translates to business risk mitigation. A privacy dashboard acts as a control center that gives a company instant visibility into its privacy program’s current and historic health and impact. It goes beyond simple tracking and reporting to help legal and security leaders truly understand and effectively communicate privacy risk, while its personalized, smart prioritization of tasks highlights focus areas and encourages teams to become more operationally efficient. 

DataGrail’s dashboard debuts at a time when consumers increasingly view privacy as a human right and new regional and global privacy regulations are constantly introduced. Businesses must react and appropriately secure and manage personal data across all systems and applications. However, companies struggle to understand the impact of privacy risk as a leading indicator of overall business risk. By delivering actionable insights aimed at protecting consumers and internal resources, DataGrail’s dashboard sets the standard for effectively identifying risk and gives businesses an unprecedented look at program health.

By correctly integrating a Privacy Control Center or dashboard into your legal and security strategies, you get not only a modern approach to measuring and understanding risk, but also all-up visibility and intelligent recommendations to preempt business risk:

  • Business risk reduction: A dashboard offers a data privacy-specific interface to proactively monitor and reduce business risk at your company.
  • Source of truth: Businesses monitor data privacy management and identify opportunities for privacy program improvement from a single interface.
  • Clear prioritization: Teams identify urgent tasks and use data to forecast privacy program trends allowing them to continuously optimize their impact by improving focus and velocity.
  • Privacy ROI: Companies can communicate the value of automation, like money and time saved, across their privacy program to the rest of the organization.

Overall, having a live dashboard as a core feature of a privacy program helps legal, security, and executive teams improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their data privacy practices. It can also drastically reduce the business risks associated with handling personal data — something all modern businesses must do to provide the high-quality experiences customers and employees expect.

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