Data privacy laws are an opportunity to become more honest to reach your target audience

Data privacy regulations are designed to give consumers more transparency and control over how their data is collected, shared and used, especially as more consumers become concerned about how their data is accessed and used by big data companies.

As more and more data privacy regulations come into force, companies will face pressure to ensure they collect, use and share individuals’ information responsibly, while remaining compliant. ever-changing regulations and always being able to effectively reach customers and prospects for sales and marketing purposes.

To be successful, companies need to assess their data and technology stacks to determine the processes and tools they need to do this. But first, it’s important to understand the landscape of privacy regulation.

The current state of privacy regulations

In the United States, there is no comprehensive federal data privacy law that dictates how personal information should be handled; it is an overlapping web of individual state laws and regulations. This creates a confusing and difficult to navigate environment.

Some of the federal data privacy laws are industry-specific, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the healthcare industry or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) in the financial industry. Others are at the state level, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the California Privacy Rights Enforcement Act (CPRA).

California is one of three states with comprehensive privacy laws, joined by Colorado and Virginia. Across the country, other states are seeking to pass comprehensive privacy legislation or create task forces to review privacy legislation. With more states paying attention to data privacy, it is very likely that more statewide laws will be passed this year.

For companies that have a nationwide presence, this means that they must have a clear understanding of how they must meet consumer privacy requirements and requests – both federally and in each state where they operate and/or collect personal data – and applicable exceptions. For example, the Colorado Privacy Act applies to nonprofit entities that meet specific requirements, but the CCPA, CPRA, and Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act exempt nonprofit organizations.

While there have been federal leverage bills or drafts, there hasn’t been much progress on a federal privacy law. Federal lawmakers understand the need to pass legislation for online data privacy protections for consumers and their data, but due to complications from the midterm elections and the COVID-19 pandemic 19 underway, a federal bill is unlikely to pass in 2022. .

With all of this in mind, it can be easy for businesses to feel intimidated by the overwhelming amount of information about data privacy and what it means in practice. However, these privacy regulations provide an opportunity to connect with consumers and prospects better than ever.

New processes to integrate in the era of data privacy regulations

For most businesses, whether they realize it or not, the handling of personal information is an essential part of their day-to-day operations. To ensure they collect and use data responsibly, they may need to rethink how they develop products and handle personal information. They can do this by:

  • Embed privacy by design: By using Privacy Impact Assessments (which address the collection, handling, processing, security measures and storage of personal information for new products and projects), companies will have a better understanding the privacy risks they may face. This allows them to put in place the appropriate controls to manage these risks and to systematically build data privacy into the products, which includes proper data management and security controls.
  • Map data on laws that impact the organization: As mentioned above, certain state laws apply to certain businesses while others are exempt. By knowing what types of personal information is collected, stored, or processed, businesses can better understand what laws apply to their organization and how to properly manage and protect personal information within their business.
  • Treating individuals’ right to privacy with respect: As more and more regulations come into force that give consumers the power to manage their data, companies must be transparent about the personal information they collect and give consumers the opportunity to prevent the use of their data, ensuring that the privacy policy includes a consumer’s right to ‘opt out’.

With the right privacy processes and security tools built into your business, companies will always be able to prospect effectively to attract the right audiences.

Digital targeting, especially targeting based on behavioral and online tracking, may be more challenging in the future, but there remain opportunities for businesses to enrich customer and prospecting data and build relationships based on datasets (which may include both business data and consumer data) that may be publicly available or collected with appropriate permissions. When done correctly, this data remains usable if the companies and their partners and suppliers have put in place the appropriate privacy controls to ensure that this data has been collected and is used and processed in a compliant manner.

Rethinking the data and technology stack

Privacy regulations will continue to evolve in the years to come, and it will be essential that brands have the right tools in place to ensure that they are not only collecting data in accordance with privacy laws and regulations, but that they use that data appropriately and with the appropriate security controls in place to continue to do business in a meaningful way, which will include the ability to continue to create real, warm leads from current and potential customers.

Companies should assess data and technology partners to ensure that they comply with current and rapidly changing privacy provisions and, if they share information with partners, that these partners store all personal information in their environment with appropriate security controls in place.

Additionally, if a business processes personal information, it is especially important to create a sustainable cybersecurity and privacy program. It’s almost a business necessity for these companies to evaluate partners who can help them achieve compliance and/or security certification, such as Service Organization Control 2 (SOC2) or ISO27001, or if the company is dealing with protected health information (PHI) or payment card data, to use any of the platforms or tools that may help comply with HIPAA or PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). This way, businesses will still be able to personalize the way they interact with customers, prospects, and consumers and build better relationships, while remaining compliant with privacy and data protection regulations.

Data privacy laws offer companies the opportunity to be more honest and creative in how they reach their target audience. By understanding which privacy regulations impact businesses, integrating new privacy and security processes into operations, and leveraging tools that properly manage data collection, data protection, and access from a consumer to their personal information, businesses can rest assured that they will continue to win customers and prospects in a compliant manner.

About Geraldine Higgins

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