Privacy 2020.12.21All blog posts

The case for privacy software: 6 reasons why you need to invest

The end of an excel era

There are a number of culprits responsible for the death of the spreadsheet in today’s privacy practices.

First, there’s enterprise data, which has become more voluminous and sprawling than ever. Next, you’ve got cybersecurity threats, with breaches at an all-time high and hackers adopting increasingly sophisticated or devious behaviors (according to FinTechNews, 85% of people posting puppy photos are apparently trying to scam you). 

Then there are issues of data-savvy customers and global privacy regulations, which place heavy financial, reputational, and legal pressures on any company that handles data. 

Against these progressively powerful factors, traditional and manual spreadsheet strategies no longer stand a chance. Particularly as privacy regulations are becoming more established and regulators more rigorous, smart businesses are realizing the important role privacy software plays in the fight against data anarchy.

While compliance is undoubtedly the main driver behind this wave of interest surrounding privacy software, the business benefits of privacy tools stretch far beyond this primary driver.

If you’re looking to build a case for investing in privacy software, you’ll find six of these major benefits below.

1. Increasing compliance

Keeping in line with GDPR and CCPA regulations is a complex task. One of the main ways companies can simplify compliance processes is to arm employees with the tools they need to track, organize, and manage the data they handle.

However, recent analysis of imposed GDPR fines suggests that many companies still don’t have sufficient resources or policies in place to manage their data effectively. In fact, according to Forrester’s alarmingly titled study, ‘Guess what? GDPR enforcement is on fire!’ failures of data governance have triggered more fines and penalties than security breaches. 

Forrester found that DPAs have primarily acted against the infringement of Article 5 (principles of processing of personal data) and Article 6 (lawfulness of processing), which cover issues such as fairness of processing and the amount of data a company collects from a customer.

The 2020 study also found that most current enforcement actions involved data access requests and data deletion issues. It highlighted a case in Germany where a property company was fined €14.5 million for its inability to delete customer data correctly. 

Combining automation, AI, and intuitive interfaces, the best privacy software companies give users clear visibility over how data moves through an organization. Unlike manual processes, which can be messy, time-consuming, and fail to match the speed and volume of enterprise data, privacy software such as Complyon makes it easy to discover exactly where data resides, as well as why, and by whom it’s processed.  

Ditching spreadsheets, Complyon’s privacy compliance software offers a multi-layer view of where your data and systems interact, providing a clear, visual overview that maps out data flows to allow employees to quickly locate files, provide documentation of their activity, identify risk, and isolate potential breaches. 

2. Safeguarding customer trust

Today’s customer, whether B2B or B2C, is far more interested in and knowledgeable about their data rights. 

As reported by Cisco’s consumer privacy survey, 84% of people care about the privacy of their data, with 80% stating they are willing to protect it and 48% indicating they’d already switched companies or providers due to poor data policies or sharing practices.

With customers demanding more trust and transparency, businesses need to respond to individual queries quickly, while offering total visibility over data storage, movement and archiving. 

Currently, this is not often the case. In Gartner’s 2019 Security and Risk Survey, two-thirds of respondents revealed it took them two weeks or more to respond to a single SRR. If you’re the customer in this scenario, two weeks is a long, frustrating time to wait for the information you need.

Through data mapping, privacy software gives you everything a customer needs to know about their data within a few moments. It can locate where a customer’s data is being stored, how it is being used, and who has come into contact with that data. 

By reducing response times to queries, privacy software helps maintain customer trust and loyalty, reassuring your customers that you know what you’re doing and that you take data protection as seriously as they do.

3. Uncovering new insights and trends

To work effectively, privacy software requires a business to collect all its data and collate it in one centralized location. This process means each department has to thoroughly examine the data it stores and manages, gathering information from a wide variety of sources.

Organizing decentralized data in this way is hugely beneficial. When an enterprise pools its data, it helps to break down data silos, potentially leading to valuable inter-departmental insights. For example, information gathered by a customer services team could help a marketing department tailor their messaging for more effective campaigns. Or, the product team could come up with a new feature following feedback received by their IT colleagues.

Similarly, at a department level, when privacy management software collates and centralizes information from every app, folder, desktop, and inbox, it becomes much easier to find deep insights and patterns in your data – particularly compared to if that data is dispersed or inaccessible. 

By implementing privacy software practices, vast volumes of data become meaningful assets, acting as a company’s secret weapon rather than their Achilles’ heel. You’re able to recognize trends that previously would have gone unnoticed, steering you towards more strategic, data-driven decisions. 

4. Improving third-party risk management 

According to Forrester, although third-party risk management is nothing new on the privacy scene, it’s set to be ‘the next big thing in the privacy arena.’

For anyone involved with managing third-party data, this prediction will come as no surprise. As watertight as your data policies and practices may be, if vendors, distributors, or any other partner falls short of your standards, they not only pose a potential security threat on your ecosystem but a risk to your company’s reputation. 

Privacy software tools offer businesses greater oversight and control over how partners store and process data, allowing for early detection of any compromising practices. For example, Complyon provides companies with the tools they need to work collaboratively with third parties, integrating external databases into one centralized system that incorporates third-party data processing agreements and inspections.

5. Recovering quicker from data breaches

While it’s true most GDPR fines have been triggered by data processing errors rather than data security, breaches are still a threat no organization can take for granted. 

This year alone has seen a 273% year-on-year increase of cyberattacks, with over 16 billion records exposed and high profile cases targeting global players such as Marriott, MGM resorts, Zoom, Nintendo, EasyJet and Twitter, which notably found hackers had accessed the accounts of top US figures, including Barack Obama, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Elon Musk, and Bill Gates.

Investing in privacy software doesn’t guarantee 100% immunity against cyberattacks. However, recent studies have shown that it does provide substantial benefits for breach prevention and management.  

For instance, out of the 2800 security professionals surveyed in Cisco’s Annual Cybersecurity Benchmark Study, those who worked at organizations with higher privacy investments were over twice as likely to be breach-free (28%). This higher accountability group also found the impact and cost of a breach to be significantly lower, with 19% less downtime from breaches, 28% fewer records impacted, and 10% lower breach costs. 

6. Boosting ROI on privacy spending

Another key finding from Cisco’s 2020 Cybersecurity Study is a handy benefit for anyone pitching for more budget for their privacy software investment. 

Analyzing data on privacy spending and benefits, Cisco’s report estimates that for every dollar of investment a company makes, it receives $2.70 worth of benefit. The study revealed that 47% of companies are seeing greater than twofold return on privacy investments, 33% are breaking even, and only 8% spent more than they are receiving back in benefits. 

Benefits included all points we’ve covered so far, as well as additional advantages such as achieving a competitive edge, enabling agility and innovation, and making a company more attractive to investors. 

Cisco was also quick to point out that returns didn’t vary significantly by company size. Although larger companies were indeed spending more, the ratio of benefits to spending was similar across all company sizes. 

Final thoughts on privacy software

In an age where privacy regulations (and enforcements) are ramping up, enterprise data is exploding in volume, and customers are increasingly data savvy, the case for investing in privacy management software has never been more pressing. 

With the ability to simplify compliance processes, retrieve valuable new insights, protect customer relationships and offer additional breach protection, there is no doubt that privacy software should be a key component of any tech stack that processes private data. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Complyon’s privacy software can benefit your business or would like to discuss software privacy issues in more detail, we’d love to talk. Simply contact us here and we’ll be in touch.

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