When Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal started appearing in the news, it marked a pivotal moment in the way consumers respond to data privacy issues and breaches. It was certainly not the first issues of its kind, far from it in fact, but it had a ripple effect that has forever changed the way companies will handle users’ sensitive data in the future.
“The era of being able to collect data and use it as you will, is shifting,” said Kalinda Raina, head of global privacy at LinkedIn, when she spoke at the WSJ Cyber Security Forum. “Data privacy isn’t just a legal issue – the whole company needs to think about and be educated about clear corporate values when it comes to using or collecting data.”
Why Cambridge Analytica changed the game
Data privacy issues have become increasingly common as people share more and more information online while considering their privacy even less. It turns out that consumers value convenience over privacy and are willing to make themselves vulnerable to data mining and other breaches. However, that’s only part of the picture — consumers trust the companies that they do business with to protect their data and handle it lawfully. When a company fails at this, they are likely to face a hit to their bottom line.
Because the Cambridge Analytica scandal affected such a large number of users on a huge scale, the FTC decided to take the investigation public, something they don’t normally do. Usually, consumers and users are notified by a company if their data has been compromised, but a smart business makes a concerted effort to minimize the fallout. In this instance, Facebook had to answer to users, advertisers, regulatory agencies throughout the world, and the United States Congress. Average users with little understanding of data privacy and regulations were suddenly aware of how they were personally affected, and they were outraged.
The tech industry responds
While this recent scandal affected social media, specifically Facebook, it has become increasingly clear that this is an issue that involves all business technology. While it’s only at the beginning stages, this is a pivotal moment in data security. Moving forward, businesses will need a comprehensive data management and privacy plan to protect users, consumers, and ultimately, themselves.
Spearheading the movement towards safer and better-regulated data privacy is the tech industry, specifically the groups responsible for writing and enforcing regulations, and the IT companies that provide data management and protection services. It is these service providers that work behind the scenes to ensure that private information stays private.
What these changes mean for your business
As consumers become increasingly savvy and educated on issues surrounding data privacy and regulators crack down on breaches and information mismanagement, it is obvious that this is a movement that affects all companies. Privacy issues and data misuse will result in one thing for any business — a loss of revenue. This loss may come from a single event that slows commerce, fines, or an overall loss of consumer trust.
It’s important, now more than ever, that your business is committed to safety and security, to protect you, your employees, your customers, and your bottom line. In addition to a full range of IT services and support, SingularisIT offers security management, compliance, and resources, customized to fit your scope an needs. Contact us to learn more.