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Data Privacy, Consent Gathering Tools Prove Behind the Times in the Face of Change

March 21, 2016

It's one of the big Catch-22s that define this technological era. Customers want a better customer experience. That requires organizations to use personal data to better tailor an experience. Customers also, however, don't want to give out a lot of data and want what data is given out protected like Fort Knox gold. The recent results of a ForgeRock study conducted by TechValidate showed just how far behind the curve many companies are when it comes to data privacy and gathering consent for data collection.

The study, Survey on Data Privacy in the Digital Era, revealed that the spirit was willing when it came to data protection, with 93 percent of respondents agreeing that customer data privacy was a clear concern all the way up to the C-suite. The flesh, however, proved weak, as only nine percent could agree that current privacy and consent measures in place were actually up to the protection task. Near-total agreement—96 percent—noted a clearly rising need for better tools that would work not only with consumer expectations, but also the borderless requirements of regulatory bodies.

A new agreement known as the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework is set to replace the former Safe Harbor provisions upon completion, and a further European Union (EU) initiative known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is also poised to mean change ahead. With 96 percent of respondents noting that means a need for better protective tools and standards, and 84 percent of U.S.-based respondents believing the U.S. will take up similar measures in days to come, that's a market in the making for better data protection tools.

Customer expectations will likewise make up a major part of the matter. Feeling the sting of multiple data breaches in recent months, customers want the best in protection, or the option to not give up any useful data at all.

Three points on the study generated 95 percent agreement:

1.Individuals are much more concerned about data privacy and managing that data.

2.Organizations want to build trust, and providing data control and safeguards to customers is a good way to do that.

3.Better customer privacy means better brand loyalty.

Data protection isn't about warm and fuzzies and feel-good measures that go nowhere. Data protection securing critical digital assets and keeping the customer happy by improving the customer experience. A better customer experience translates into loyalty. And, this loyalty means the potential for repeat business which is the key to improved cash flow. Keeping a customer's data safe improves the customer's level of trust that said customer will be taken care of after a sale, and that trust extends to product quality, to store rate of return, and so on.

So if a business can demonstrate powerful protection measures—and quick responses if things go wrong—it can improve the chances that the company will see customers coming back. That makes data protection valuable.  It keeps regulators satisfied and potential fines and penalties at bay, and it also keeps customers happy.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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