Achieving Data Privacy: Why Good Data Governance Matters

The importance of data privacy has never been more critical. With trust between organisations, governments and individuals decreasing significantly within the current digital age, good data governance has become more important than ever. 

It is essential for organisations today to not only protect confidential customer information but also provide value from it in order to foster trust within their customers – such as offering tailored services or improved user experience. From establishing a relationship of trust to enabling organisations to maximise their data assets, ensuring data privacy practices are in place will ensure organisations can utilise data insights responsibly and effectively. 

In this blog post we’ll explore why respecting users’ privacy should be part of any organisation’s policy, the challenges that come with implementing robust privacy practices, and how good data governance can aid overall compliance with privacy initiatives. 

Evolving nature of data privacy 

Organisations are now more aware of the importance of data privacy than ever before. To understand why, we need to appreciate how the definition of privacy has evolved. From an individual standpoint, privacy started as the right to be left alone. Over time, this has evolved to become the ability to decide when, how, and why personal data is collected, used, shared or disseminated – giving rise to various regulations and laws to protect customer data. 

From an organisational perspective, privacy has increasingly become a critical risk factor as they seek to maintain regulatory compliance and customer trust. With the increasing need to store, process and generate value from large amounts of data, the balance between maximising this value while simultaneously protecting, preserving and promoting trust is becoming more difficult. They must also ensure their policies and procedures regarding data security are up-to-date to mitigate against any loss of trust from consumers should something go wrong. Ultimately, understanding how organisations perceive and leverage modern-day privacy technologies/regulations to mitigate this risk is essential. 

Challenges that come with implementing data privacy practices 

Organisations face several challenges when implementing robust data privacy practices that meet both customer expectations and legal requirements. To successfully embed this into the organisational culture, they must consider all aspects of their operations ranging from people, processes and technologies used for collecting and storing personal data. 

Standard Operation Procedures: One of the most common pitfalls or biggest barriers to enforcing privacy practices in organisations today is the lack of standard operation procedures (SOPs) and policies. Without these detailed processes in place, it is difficult for organisations to properly protect their data. Additionally, without a clear policy outlining what employees are expected to do when handling sensitive data, such as sending an encrypted attachment with its password sent separately, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is following the same protocol.  

Privacy Training: Compounding this issue is a lack of training provided by organisations on proper privacy protocols. Without champions in place who are knowledgeable about proper privacy practices, there is little accountability among employees and no one to enforce these policies. This makes it nearly impossible for organisations to ensure that their processes are up-to-date and meet requirements. 

Manual Intervention: Many organisations have previously relied on manual methods such as surveys and impact assessments that may become quickly outdated. This can leave them vulnerable and open to potential breaches or data losses without an evergreen policy in place. Automating these processes can help address these issues by providing real-time insights into what data an organisation has and alerting them of any material changes that may occur over time. 

Without standard operation procedures, privacy training or automated processes, organisations are leaving themselves open to risks of data breaches or losses due to outdated policies. Investing in a comprehensive data privacy strategy now is essential for organisations to respond quickly and efficiently when changes occur. 

How good data governance and data security can aid overall compliance with privacy initiatives

The success of data privacy initiatives comes down to its integration with other data-related functions and alignment with the overall business strategy. By combining data privacy strategies with data governance and security frameworks, organisations can maximise the value of their data while minimising potential risks or liabilities.  

Good data governance can help organisations establish a baseline for quality assurance and to provide the framework for applying and enforcing policies, standards and responsibilities. From ensuring that all stakeholders involved in processing personal data understand their responsibilities through to understanding what types of data are considered private, data governance can help put in place the right protocols. By investing in the right tech stack to achieve data governance, organisations can empower people to comply with or enforce privacy/regulatory policies in place in regard to correct storage and handling of various types of data. 

To support the processes and policies in place, data security is another fundamental pillar of data privacy – implementing measures to protect personal and sensitive information from unauthorised access, disclosure, and misuse. By enabling early detection of potential threats and privacy incidents, through to obscuring sensitive information through data masking and anonymisation, robust security measures play a critical role in proactively reducing the risk of personal information falling into the wrong hands. 

Together, these elements are intertwined to create a secure environment that can control user access (governance), enforce user profile authorisation restrictions (security) and the appropriate use of private data with regard to compliance regulations (privacy). A holistic and collaborative approach ensures that data privacy becomes an integral part of the organisation’s culture and operations, leading to more effective data protection and compliance. Ultimately, data privacy, governance and security strategies all work together to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, availability as well as safety of customer/organisational data assets. 

 

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