Is Your Brand Ready for a Privacy-First World?
By Camila Martinez-Granata
Data compliance is shaping up to be tech’s next great battlefield in 2023. Whether it’s the EU handing out record-breaking GDPR fines, or legislators limiting cookie collections, regulatory agencies across the globe are implementing new rules of engagement. Although brands like Meta argue these new laws will suffocate international commerce, forward-thinking brands understand data privacy is now a priority.
Meta recently made headlines for butting heads with EU data compliance regulators. As a result, many speculate the company may pull Instagram and Facebook from the continent entirely. Regardless of whether Meta leaves Europe, the conflict underscores how even the largest brands may lack the technological bandwidth to stay compliant with recent privacy changes.
Meta is far from alone in this fight. Staying ahead of new data privacy compliance legislation is a challenge international businesses are desperate to solve–and the stakes couldn’t be higher. GDPR compliance offenders face up to 20 million euros in fines or 4% of annual revenue, whichever is higher.
The message is clear: today’s brands must prioritize data privacy or face severe consequences.
A privacy-first digital world
GDPR may be known as the most stringent data privacy regulation in the world, but it's not the only one brands should be aware of. Recent legislation like California’s Consumer Protection Regulation Act (CPRA) and Deleware’s Online Privacy Protection Act (OPPA) reflect a long-coming shift toward a privacy-first world.
Perhaps the most evident example of this shift was in 2020 when Apple banned third-party cookie collection on its Safari browser. Shortly after, Google announced they would follow suit with Chrome by 2024. Although the transition from third-party cookie reliance continues to be a difficult challenge for many brands, these changes have underscored a newfound appreciation for first-party data.
But what caused this shift toward a privacy-first world? A recent study found only 33% of respondents believed companies were using their data responsibly. With such a lack of faith, government intervention was an inevitability. As brands grew and their reach spread transnationally, governments across the globe responded by passing new legislation–like GDPR–to protect user privacy and inform them of their rights.
What brands need to consider for compliance
As GDPR and other data compliance laws continue to be changed, re-defined, and re-litigated, staying abreast of the latest regulations can feel like a Sisyphean task, for even the largest transnational companies. When planning and adapting to these changes, brands need to ask themselves a few key questions:
- What is your data collection process? Under GDPR, brands cannot collect certain sensitive personal data, including race, ethnic origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. Staying informed of regulations–and your internal processes–is a great place to gauge where your compliance capabilities stand.
- What are your compliance and data security measures? GDPR’s Article 32 requires companies to implement reasonable and appropriate data security measures. Unfortunately, the Article’s text is considered opaque by some when defining what constitutes reasonable and appropriate. To stay ahead of changing regulations and ensure compliance, brands should consider running through a data security checklist at regular intervals.
- Where does your company store customer data? Where you store your data is just as important as where it comes from. For example, if your company collects data from EU residents, that data must be stored within the EU. This can pose a challenge for companies that host their customer data in data warehouses and the cloud in the U.S.
- Has your company eliminated third-party cookies? Non-compliant cookie collection can be a major headache. Although your company may be careful, you cannot be certain third parties have the same commitment to compliance.
- Can your company afford costly fines? Pivoting tactics, spending more on first-party data, and beefing up existing security may seem expensive, but consider the alternative: last year alone, GDPR regulators doled out over 1.2 billion euros in fines to non-compliant companies–including the Amazon and Meta-owned Whatsapp.
- Has your company eliminated unnecessary security risks? The old proverb “too many cooks spoil the broth” doesn’t just apply to the soup. The more disparate tools your company uses, the more potential for holes in your data security.
Staying on top of data privacy compliance can be tedious and challenging to navigate–especially when collecting, aggregating, and analyzing user data is such a key component to brand success. Tools, like privacy-first analytics, can help your company stay compliant.
Finding a privacy-first analytics solution
Privacy-first analytics can go by several monikers–privacy-focused, privacy-compliant, and privacy-friendly, to name a few. Moreover, having an analytics tool that prioritizes security can be a powerful solution for brands looking to improve their compliance capabilities while also analyzing their data. The ideal privacy-first analytics delivers on a few key elements:
- Ensure individuals keep control of their data: Transparency is the easiest way to stay compliant. Not only does your brand need user consent to collect data, but staying compliant means users should be able to access, edit, or delete that data. Privacy-first analytics keep your users informed.
- Transparent data collection and processing: According to the GDPR enforcement tracker, 34% of fines levied in 2021 were due to “insufficient legal basis for data processing and 21% of fines were due to “non-compliance with data processing guidelines.” That means a majority of GDPR violations–55%–were due to mismanaged data processing. A privacy-first analytics solution can help your brand avoid becoming part of that statistic.
- Data protection by design: The challenge with so many data platforms, from CDPs to CRMs, is that none were built with privacy as the priority or as its foundation. While most data platforms do have standard security regulations, many were created with the priority of data storage or building customer relationships. This, inevitably, poses a challenge for brands when complying with ever-changing laws and regulations. Simply put, many analytics tools or data platforms just can’t meet compliance laws on their own–and have to rely on external tools and vendors. However, a privacy-first analytics tool, like Scuba, was built with those very concerns in mind–and does have the ability to meet compliance laws.
- Exceptional data security: Good data security is proactive, not reactive. Not only should your data analytics platform minimize risks of breaches and prevent malicious attacks, but it should also guard data from human error. Securing your data isn’t just important when keeping your brand compliant–it’ll also save you serious cash. A recent IBM security report found that the global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million.
Privacy & security? It’s already been solved, with Scuba
Scuba provides companies with analytical, privacy-first solutions. With robust security and strict compliance certifications, Scuba is an ideal data analytics platform for ushering your company into this brave, new, privacy-first world. Scuba’s elegant data architecture is built with privacy in mind and operates entirely behind a brand’s firewall.
Whether you’re looking to elevate your privacy and compliance, glean better insights into customer journeys, or increase product retention, Scuba is the perfect platform to help navigate your brands through whatever new data compliance regulations come next.
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