Expert commentator | Smart Insights | Thu, 06 Oct 2016 08:00:00 +0000

The Privacy Shield is a great opportunity for brands to win back consumer trust

The estimated $250 billion occurring annually in trans-Atlantic digital trade spells growth and opportunity for media and technology companies on both sides. However, there’s a lot of red tape involved in the ownership and transmission of sensitive consumer data.

With the European Court of Justice striking down the 15-year Safe Harbor agreement last fall, citing fundamental differences in the handling of private information and legality concerns, the U.S. and the European Union have established a new data privacy agreement. Privacy Shield is meant to ensure that sensitive data is secured to EU standards before being submitted to corporations based in the U.S, all of which must agree annually to the terms provided in the directive.

From traditional media houses to live event companies, the industry’s responsibility to safeguard its customers’ data and privacy is now paired with legal obligation.

Better Data Management Will Increase Consumer Trust

While some view Privacy Shield with skepticism, companies can leverage these new provisions to get ahead in the market.

For example, more widely available resolution mechanisms may seem like a disadvantage for corporations, but complying with the rigorous standards of Privacy Shield will increase consumer trust. Because U.S. corporations wishing to conduct trans-Atlantic business will be required to annually self-certify with the U.S. Department of Commerce, companies that repeatedly fail to comply with the regulations will be removed from the list — potentially facing fines of about €100 million.

Seeking placement on a list that provides the assurance of safe storage and the transmission of secure information is all but guaranteed to build loyalty and trust among media clients and readership, making it crucial for media companies to be among the first to comply with Privacy Shield regulations. The companies that lead the way in data privacy standards will almost certainly develop a competitive advantage and win greater market shares.

Gain a Competitive Edge With Privacy Shield Compliance

The data management systems of old will have to be revamped, with new companywide policies put in place. Here are the first three steps you should take to gain a competitive edge as a company at the forefront of Privacy Shield standards:

1. Take a data inventory.

What information do you have? How do you use it? You need to be able to answer these questions. Review why you’re collecting data, what data you have, and whether you need to keep it. Ensure that all parties in your company are aware of Privacy Shield requirements. Conduct a data audit and gap analysis to assess where you stand in relation to the new laws.

Upon a complete analysis of your data, an updated and Privacy Shield-compliant company policy must be agreed upon. Make sure you’re providing an accurate policy that both notifies clients and records their consent, especially for information used outside the expected course of business. It may be wise to follow the media companies that have added an opt-in consent for sensitive data or changes in use.

2. Do away with siloed data storage.

Historically, media companies have kept data in silos. This simply doesn’t work with a converged media framework, and it’s one of the reasons why 49 percent of media leaders cite data reliability as a primary concern. This tradition of disconnected knowledge will lead to IT system barriers in accessing all your information at once, which is necessary for the real-time data media executives regularly require. It will also make it difficult to set up a timely notification system should a data breach occur. Streamline your data collection and management systems.

3. Hire a data protection officer to ensure compliance.

Either hire a data protection officer or determine an equivalent role within your current structure whose job is ensuring your organization’s compliance with Privacy Shield rules. Provide a clear job scope for the role, ensuring that the position will serve to effectively implement your new privacy management systems. We usually advise media clients to design data protection directly into their day-to-day processes, in line with the International Organization for Standardization’s engagement methodology.

To ensure that ongoing structural enhancements remain in compliance, make sure all moving arms within your organization have data protection guidance. It’s also important to include your new policy changes in all business processes going forward.

Digital marketing companies that shy away from Privacy Shield practices will be left in the dust. Embracing and leveraging its opportunities will reap dividends in growing market shares and consumer trust. In the age of the internet, there are virtually no geographical barriers to trade. Don’t let your aging privacy management practices hold you back.