Learn why companies need to pay attention to data privacy.
Customers didn't seem concerned about privacy, at least not to the extent that it would change their purchasing behavior or impact their loyalty to a brand, and as a result, the C-suite wasn't concerned about it. Fast-forward to today. The advent of social media, smartphones, cloud computing, and big data means that companies are collecting more data than ever before. Companies need to be thoughtful about the data they collect and how they use it. In this data-driven world, privacy needs to be something every company is thinking about.
Here are three reasons why. First, a respect for privacy is necessary to establishing, and then nurturing, your customers' trust. Data is the new gold, but that precious resource can quickly disappear if you lose the trust of your customers. That's why companies need to think about privacy as more than a mere check-the-box exercise. They need to reach out to their customers and help them understand how their data's handled, how it is used, and how it is secured. Go beyond the legalese of a privacy statement and actually communicate with your customers in a way they can relate to.
Help customers understand why they should trust your company with their data, and then, as we'll discuss in more detail later, work hard to keep that trust by remaining committed to your values. Second, a company's approach to privacy can impact its bottom line. To be successful in the digital revolution, companies will need more and more data about their customers. This data will drive strategic decisions around new avenues of new growth, the products that should be developed, and the type of deals that may grow the company.
At the initial stages of the product lifecycle, if a company fails to collect data from its customers in a way that meets certain legal requirements, that same data may be completely off-limits for use by the company. Think about that. If you collect data, but fail to do so with the right protections in place, you may not be able to use that data in the future. Decisions like that can impact the acquisition potential of your company, future valuation, and long-term product strategy.
Third, the biggest privacy risk to a company is its own employees. Now, I know that might sound crazy. You might be asking, "How could my employees pose a threat?" But the reality is that the biggest threat a company faces to its privacy program is an employee who either does not know about the company's position on privacy, or just doesn't care. Keep in mind that it is employees within organizations who are accessing customers' data, using it, sharing it, and storing it. If they don't understand their role as the custodian of that data, or the importance of it to your company's long-term success, they can put the company at risk in multiple ways.
A lack of employee awareness and commitment to your company's privacy values can lead to a data breach, the launch of products that don't reflect privacy by design, inquiries by regulators, or worst of all, irate and frustrated customers. To avoid these pitfalls, what's needed is an environment or culture where privacy is recognized as a priority, and part of every employee's job. Good data hygiene, as I like to call it, does not come naturally to companies. It's something that needs to be carefully thought through with an eye on the long-term goal, rather than the sort-term gain.
Building a sustainable culture of privacy within your organization will ensure that you have a strong foundation of trust, a long-term data strategy, and an employee base that understands and values their role in protecting the new gold of the digital age.
In this course, Kalinda Raina, head of global privacy at LinkedIn, shows how to create a successful privacy program by building privacy into the very foundation of your company culture. Learn what privacy is, why it matters, and how to develop a privacy program that serves the interest of not only your customers, but your company as well. Discover how to tie your policies back to your corporate values, enlist privacy advocates from every level of the organization, and build privacy into the product development cycle.
- Privacy regulations
- Assessing your privacy program
- Tying privacy to your corporate mission
- Creating privacy advocates
- Building privacy into your products
- Integrating privacy into the existing business