A crucial part of gathering and processing data in the modern privacy era is consent. Privacy laws grant individuals the right to make an informed decision about the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information.
As businesses seek to legitimize and strengthen their data management practices, consent and consent management are playing a larger role in the collection process.
What Is a Consent Management Platform (CMP)?
When companies want to collect and process customer data for marketing or resale purposes, they must gain direct permission from individuals before processing their data, otherwise known as Consent for Data Processing.
Enter: Consent Management Platforms (CMPs). CMPs help companies provide consumers with user consent controls relating to the collection and handling of personal information.
Data privacy laws around the globe regulate how organizations can legally collect and use personal data. Much of the global business industry focuses mainly on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and how the two compare. However, various data privacy regulations also place restrictions on the way companies collect personal data.
Businesses and websites have many CMP options for data privacy compliance, and this piece will look at some of the core features a consent management solution should deal with. Depending on the regulatory requirements a company deals with, the functionalities a CMP provides may differ slightly, but the result is always about providing users with transparency and choice regarding their data privacy.
Benefits of Consent Management Platforms
Implementing a CMP provides legal and business benefits, and should be an easy decision for organizations looking to improve their data privacy programs. With consent management software, businesses can:
- Ensure compliance with data privacy laws (GDPR, CCPA, CPRA, Brazil’s LGPD, etc.)
- Access customizable solutions for managing user consent and preference management
- Simplify consumer data collection and consent management processes
- Automate consent tracking and compliance management
- Enhance user experience and trust, leading to loyal customers and website visitors
- Implement real-time tracking and updates for consent changes
Core Features of Consent Management Platforms
Companies looking for a consent management partner should concentrate on finding a provider that scales as a business grows and covers the core features outlined below.
1. Consent Collection and Management
The number one job of cookie consent management software should be to manage the collection and organization of cookies. Look for a platform that provides:
- Comprehensive opt-in and cookie consent management
- Configurable cookie banners and pop-ups
- Ability to personalize the user experience for managing consent preferences
- Consent choices for different data processing purposes (profiling, marketing, etc.)
- Accurate consumer data subject rights management
2. Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations
Being transparent with consumers about data privacy consent is more than just good business, it’s also required by law. Depending on where your company operates, make sure your CMP allows for:
- GDPR-compliant consent management, which should also provide compliance with other privacy laws, like CCPA and LGPD
- Privacy management capabilities in line with ePrivacy and data protection laws
- Personal data management per regional regulations
3. Customization and Integration
Some of the best consent management platforms on the market may not always be a fit for your organization. When researching options for your CMP vendor, consider your company’s size, operations, and need for customization. Look for:
- Customizable templates and consent banner designs
- Seamless integration with websites, mobile apps, plugins, social media platforms, and third-party providers
- API support for accurate consent operations
- Clear, non-deceptive designs that avoid dark patterns and misleading language
4. Automation and Real-Time Updates
Consent management operations can be tedious and time-consuming, especially if your system requires heavy manual operations. Finding a CMP that responsibly leverages automation may be the key to unlocking a higher level of efficiency. Strong vendors should supply:
- Automated consent collection and tracking capabilities
- Real-time updates for user consent changes
- Automation for data processing signals based on consent preferences
- Streamlined operations that comply with privacy regulations
A CMP Checklist
Review the checklist below for a step-by-step guide to best practices for finding and implementing a comprehensive CMP.
- Understand applicable data privacy regulations
- Identify your data processing activities
- Map consent points (websites, apps, forms, cookies)
- Enable consent management with a CMP
- Create clear and transparent consent requests
- Implement opt-in mechanisms for explicit user consent
- Configure cookie consent banners/pop-ups
- Customize user options for consent preferences
- Provide user-friendly preference centers
- Ensure regulatory compliance
- Regularly review and update consent processes
- Train staff on consent management best practices
- Monitor third-party compliance
- Maintain comprehensive user consent records documentation
Why is consent management important?
Consent management ensures your company meets data privacy compliance requirements while building trust with users.
What features should a CMP offer?
CMPs should offer customizable consent banners, granular consent preferences, tracking, and reporting.
How does a CMP help with compliance?
CMPs centralize consent management, maintain records, and enable user rights as prescribed by data privacy regulations around the world.
Do CMPs handle cookie consent banners?
Yes, comprehensive CMPs should manage cookie consent with customizable banners and user choices.
Can CMPs handle consent withdrawal?
Per regulatory requirements, CMPs should allow users to easily withdraw consent and then immediately signal a company to cease processing the withdrawn data.
Are CMPs suitable for all organizations?
CMPs can benefit organizations of all sizes if they’re collecting and processing user data or just want to provide their customers with data privacy transparency.
Are templates available with a CMP?
CMPs will likely offer customizable templates for consent banners.
Do CMPs integrate with existing systems?
To achieve accurate and real-time operational efficiency, CMPs should integrate with popular platforms and existing business systems for seamless implementation and consent management.
How do I choose the right CMP?
Consent management is a crowded field with many great CMP options available. Carefully study your business operations and consider needs relating to compliance, customization, integration, scalability, pricing, and support.