Experts, commentators, and pundits alike have been saying it for years: Data is the new oil. The phrase is widely credited to mathematician Clive Humby, who also said, “Like oil, data is valuable, but if unrefined, it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, and chemicals to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity. Data must be broken down and analyzed for it to have value.”
Artificial intelligence and automation technology offer new ways to target potential customers, personalize messaging, and recommend products, thereby making data an essential resource for modern enterprises and business decision-making. Companies around the globe collect and analyze volumes of data daily. This highly valued commodity needs to be protected, but so do the individuals who provide it.
For modern companies, navigating data privacy can seem overwhelming. Different regions may be subject to varying legislation levels. Additionally, citizens of a particular region may still be protected by those laws no matter where they’re presently located. As data privacy regulations grow, companies face constantly changing data management requirements to secure the correct opt-in permission and ensure compliance. Recent data breaches and hacks of Uber, Verizon, Meta, and Microsoft demonstrate how sophisticated hackers have become.
Flawed Practices Lead to Consumer Mistrust
Inferior consumer privacy practices expose businesses to real repercussions, such as an increase in consumer data breaches. In 2021, there were more than 130,000 personal data breaches. These instances led to material losses like fines, but more importantly, loss of trust for current and prospective customers. According to a recent report, 87% of consumers “would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices.” Investments in data protection and privacy fosters consumer loyalty and trust in a company’s products.
Data Security is Paramount
Without a solid data security platform, your company risks financial penalties for violating data privacy regulations and jeopardizing your company’s reputation. A recent article in Apple Magazine provides six tips for better data security in the workplace:
- Make sure all employees have strong passwords
- Have disaster recovery plans in place
- Create strong firewall and antivirus software policies
- Monitor and analyze your users’ online habits
- Encrypt your data whenever possible
- Invest in employee training programs
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, and facial and biometric recognition all use or generate personal data. Protecting that data should be a top priority—and training your organization in data privacy can provide a critical competitive advantage. Does your company place a priority on data privacy skills?
Privacy by Design is the Future
Companies should consider both data privacy and security issues daily. According to Lindy Cameron, CEO of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a secure-by-design approach is vital to protecting the growing Internet of Things (IoT) and consumer-connected devices. She goes on to explain how the last decade has seen an increase in significant security risks as “the scale of consumer-, enterprise-, and city-level IoT has exploded in the last decade,” along with a growing dependency on connected technology.
Data privacy is not the domain of just IT departments anymore. Protecting personal data should start in product development—ensuring that every product team member understands privacy by design. For effective results, privacy should be layered throughout the product development lifecycle.
Enhance Your Data Privacy Skills
Engineering and technology professionals must increasingly consider data privacy and security when designing products and systems. The IEEE/IAPP Data Privacy Engineering Collection delivers critical training, resources, and content for engineers and technology professionals, who are tasked with understanding, maintaining, and protecting data privacy.
Key takeaways from the program include:
- Implementing policies and processes to design and work with systems that enable legal and ethical personal data use
- Recognizing the benefits and challenges of emerging technologies and how to use them while respecting customer privacy
- Establishing organizational privacy practices for data security and control
- Learning practical knowledge and insights to address corporate privacy challenges
Contact an IEEE Account Specialist to get organizational access.
Drapkin, Aaron. (18 October 2022). Data Breaches That Have Happened in 2022 So Far. Tech.co.
Hill, Michael. (24 October 2022). Security by design vital to protecting IoT, smart cities around the world. CSO.
Huang, Helen. (18 October 2022). Putting privacy first: A global approach to data governance. Treasure Data.
Newsroom AppleMagazine.com. (24 October 2022). 6 Tips for better data security in the workplace. AppleMagazine.com.
Talagala, Nisha. (2 March 2022). Data as The New Oil Is Not Enough: Four Principles for Avoiding Data Fires. Forbes.
Robicquet, Alexandre. (19 October 2022). Why Businesses Don’t Need More Data—They Need Better Data. Forbes.