i3 | March 15, 2022

How to Build Data Security into Your Products

Scott Steinberg

Corporate data breach incidents rose by 17% in 2021 making data privacy a pressing concern for executives. The average cost of breaches has reached a record-breaking $4.24 million per incident. More, roughly nine in ten customers will take their business to a competitor if they don’t believe their data is secure while 79% of customers consider data privacy a factor in purchase decisions. Adopting a “privacy by design” philosophy can better safeguard both your company and its clients by weaving privacy into your fundamental product development pipeline.

Privacy by design is a strategic concept that encourages companies to incorporate privacy measures across all networks, systems, apps, devices, customer interactions and organizational procedures. From an engineering standpoint, it champions the idea of integrating privacy-focused solutions into product or service design concepts and interweaving comprehensive security measures across new innovations. Prompting organizations to prioritize core principles of privacy and data protection by default, it challenges companies to proactively anticipate possible points of failure and plan against future threats. Half of all global executives say that cybersecurity- and privacy-focused strategies are being integrated across business decisions.

Digital Dangers

With threats such as ransomware and open-source software vulnerabilities, business leaders no longer think solely about how to better safeguard shared information and online interactions, as well as institute better practices for data collection. Rather, organizations are realizing that successfully meeting the needs of customers is not just about delivering secure interactions but about ensuring clients enjoy greater command over what information they’re sharing, with whom, where, and to what extent.

Tech firms are integrating extensive and nuanced privacy controls in their offerings. The previously-invisible spiderweb of digital touchpoints where information is exchanged with third-parties can now offer opportunities for users to decide how and to what extent they’re willing to be tracked. Benefits of adopting these privacy-first policies go beyond reputational and public relations wins. A winning privacy strategy can “fuel user adoption and revenue growth, and help companies increase and retain market share” as eMarketer notes. Conversely, breaches of trust can allow rivals to gain customers at your expense.

Trust is Crucial to Customer Loyalty

Core strategic concepts to embrace as you incorporate privacy into design processes include:

  • Provide users with more control. Be transparent with customers about the information that you’re collecting and the methods used to gather it. Provide privacy dashboards to allow customers to control how, when, and to what extent their data is shared.
  • Default to privacy-first settings. Unless actively given permission by a user, automatically default to settings that do not monitor activity, gather data or share information with third parties.
  • Tell customers how your business model works. Give customers deeper understanding into any exchange of value and what’s being swapped in any transaction (such as free content for sharing their data).
  • Put customer satisfaction first. Dedicate teams to developing privacy-focused innovations, and always ask for users’ consent, via online opt-ins, before onboarding their information into your systems.
  • Offer options to wipe information clean. Provide customers with solutions to permanently wipe data, contacts, browsing histories, searches, locations and personal identifiers from hardware and software offerings.

Given rising stakeholder awareness, firms can leverage privacy as a source of business differentiation. After all, 90% of privacy-minded shoppers believe that how their data is treated also reflects how they themselves are treated as customers. Putting clients’ privacy first is viewed as a basic form of digital courtesy, respect and a vital business principle.

Contact professional speaker Scott Steinberg at FuturistsSpeakers.com and POP FUTURE.

i3 magazine March/April 2022 cover

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