The last year has highlighted the importance of privacy as we all transition to working remotely, learning (and teaching) remotely, purchasing almost everything we need remotely, and even socializing remotely.
As we change the way we live our lives, governments are changing the ways our data is protected. The Canadian government proposed legislation, the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, if passed, will usher in significant (and much needed) changes to businesses’ data protection obligations, in an effort to increase the security of consumers’ personal information. (For information on the proposed legislation, click here.) It has also started public consultations for changes to the Privacy Act, the legislation that applies to government institutions that manage personal information. At the provincial level in Ontario, the government also requested submissions on the creation of its own privacy legislation. The creation of, or toughening of existing privacy legislation is a trend that is seen worldwide.
Usually businesses bristle with increased government regulation and oversight. However, when it comes to privacy, studies suggest that organizations are turning to privacy principles to guide them through operating in a pandemic. Cisco recently released its 2021 Data Privacy Benchmark Study, “Forged by the Pandemic: The Age of Privacy”. Interesting findings include:
- 90% of businesses are now reporting privacy metrics to the C-Suite and Board of Directors.
- Privacy legislation is viewed favourably – 79% of businesses felt they had a positive impact, versus only 5% that felt they had a negative one.
- Privacy budgets have doubled over the past year for small and large businesses.
- External privacy certifications held by vendors is now a critical buying factor for 90% of the businesses that participated in the study.
An Accenture survey found that businesses that have implemented digital technologies in their operations, such as cloud infrastructure, machine intelligence, artificial intelligence, automation and agile workforces, reported improvements in customer service, speed of product and services innovation, operational efficiency, business value generated from data, employee engagement and retention, and employee talent mix and reskilling efforts. The report, “Fast Track to Future-Ready Performance”, indicated that “future-ready” businesses exhibited, on average, 6.4 percentage points higher profitability and 13.1% greater efficiency.
As businesses implement changes in technologies, they also appear to be embracing privacy principles. And this, is a change for the better.