Data Privacy and Growing Cyber Threats: How to Protect Consumer Data

  • July 28, 2021
  • Quantivate

Data security has become increasingly important in recent years as cyber threats increase in complexity and frequency, while public concern over personal data privacy grows.

Aside from cybersecurity threats posed by those looking to exploit sensitive data for personal gain or to cause chaos, consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their personal data to businesses.

Personal data can be bought or sold, used to gain market insight to drive strategy, or leveraged to enhance product functionality. All of this has consumers concerned with how businesses are asking for, using, and protecting their data.

Steps to Strengthen Data Security

There is growing demand for organizations to be responsible and diligent custodians of their clients’ data. Take for example Apple’s recent iOS 14.5 software release, which was advertised as having data privacy functionality built in as a fundamental part of the product.

Mirroring public concern, regulators continue to evaluate and implement higher levels of consumer protections in their policies.

How can organizations prepare to safeguard customer and partner data? Leaders can begin by realizing that data security measures can be a strong selling point and by taking the following steps:

1. Inventory your data

The first functional task for compliance and risk management officers should be to develop a map of the organization’s network and the data contained within it. This process should include a comprehensive review of all programs, systems, and third-party integrations. By mapping the network, teams can begin to identify vulnerable areas and systematize data gathering and storage.

2. Develop an incident response plan

The second step is to design a comprehensive response plan to immediately respond to threats and breaches. As cyberattacks grow more frequent, the odds of your organization being victimized increase. Time is often critical during a data breach; hackers may not only attempt to steal data but may also disrupt system functionality, posing a significant risk to business continuity. Having a detailed response plan will be key in mitigating damage and protecting internal and customer data.

There is no doubt that cyber threats pose a significant risk to all organizations, regardless of size. Vulnerabilities can be difficult to discern and their implications wide-ranging. Risk management teams will need to take extra care to design and implement effective strategies for data security. If done so effectively, organizations can take advantage of consumer sentiment toward a strong corporate stance on data privacy.

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