As more businesses move online, the field of cybersecurity has grown in importance. Workplace digitalization has led to many changes, including a move to new platforms and strategies. Many companies are adopting a cloud-first strategy, requiring new methods of protecting data.

Consumers are more empowered than ever — and they demand transparency and security in how their data is stored and used. Data protection will become vital to an organization’s success.

1. Data Protection in the Cloud

The cloud is becoming an increasingly common platform for both storage and communication. From a hosted contact center to cloud-based digital asset management, the peace of mind and ease of use of these technologies make them ideal for businesses.

In order to use these technologies, you need to consider:

  • Data protection regulations
  • Privacy standards
  • Risk management

In 2018, the Bitglass Cloud Adoption report showed that over 81% of organizations used the cloud in some form. The problem with the cloud is the varying measures businesses use to protect online data stored within it. For instance, there are different standards on password strengths, how widely passwords are distributed, and where they’re stored.

Luckily, one major trend in 2020 was an increased focus on data protection. Going forward, you should expect to see a shift in company policy and government regulation to protect data in the coming year. The shift to online operations will see companies on the lookout for the best e-commerce platforms and data protection and storage services.

2. Continued Rise in Regulations

Commerce and business activities are increasingly digital-based. This means governments are stepping in to regulate the use and protection of data. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates data protection and data privacy within the EU and European Economic Area.

The GDPR also applies to any organization processing data of EU and EEA citizens and residents. These regulations have created a precedent for other governments. Moving forward, it’s likely government legislation will focus more on creating increased data quality and governance.

Image: Gartner

These regulations have provided increased security on cloud services and increased the attention on third-party risk management. Businesses will need to be vigilant on how they use and protect data. The potential financial burden of breaking government regulations can be detrimental to your business. France fined Google over $50 million for GDPR violations. Overall, the GDPR fines have amounted to over $126 million and continue to increase.

This means that companies have begun to create frameworks to take responsibility for how they protect data. One component of this includes increased monitoring of third parties who have access to consumer data. Certifying third parties means that their use of data and practices meet legal standards and your organization’s privacy policy.

3. Increased Privacy Standards and Transparency

This year we saw an increased awareness of how companies process, store, manage and secure data.

While data storage is important for tracking your customer lifecycle, there is such a thing as unnecessary data. Data graveyards — repositories of unused data — will continue to be increasingly undesirable. This unused data jeopardizes database utilization and creates an unnecessary financial burden. Storage not only costs money but also unnecessarily increases the scope of a potential data breach.

The coming year will see businesses attempt to limit the amount of unnecessary data they store. It will also revolutionize how they manage automated systems of obtaining user data. We saw companies, like Google, commit to a cookie-less future. Cookies store information to provide consistency as users navigate through pages and sites.

The way companies manage this data can violate trust. The unnecessary holding, selling, and use of data collected by cookies can lead to legal and public relation nightmares. In the event of a data breach, the information stored from cookies can also lead to problems for the organization collecting this data.

Even matters of telecommunication, such as inbound call center solutions, demand transparency in order to maintain consumer confidence and trust. B2C companies need to take extra care with transparency. It can be detrimental to a business when a data breach occurs, or if customers find companies not managing their data responsibly.

4. Job Creation and Shifts in Responsibility

This emphasis on data protection has increased the need for oversight of digital operations. The move towards remote working has already made IT staff essential for business operations. Data Protection Officers (DPO) now have more responsibility than ever.

However, DPOs cannot single-handedly manage all aspects of cybersecurity. They are responsible for supervising and the implementation of data protection laws and policies. This means that human resources, marketing, and legal departments must also be involved in data protection.

Workplace digitalization has also created new positions within companies. New roles like Chief Data Officers (CDO) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) need to communicate with their IT teams in order to work together, align priorities, and build value-based recommendations. In many companies, this will require finding software to enable video conferencing for small business.

As we shift to more online operations, jobs will be created within HR, Marketing, and Sales departments to manage digital operations. It will require more than just IT to ensure organizations are running smoothly and efficiently.

5. Training

New jobs mean increased training. With people working from home and online activities on the rise, remote training will be an essential aspect of business operations.

Responsibility for data protection should not fall solely on your IT staff but should be spread throughout your operation. Knowledge is power. Staff who interact with data at any level should be informed about company policies and practices.

Some questions that should guide your training are:

  • What data do you need?
  • How long do you need to store it?
  • Who should have access to data?
  • What security parameters are in place?

Throughout the rest of 2020, and continuing into the next few years, we should expect to see data protection become a key part of all employees’ responsibilities, not just IT.

These five key trends for data protection seen in 2020 will define how we store, manage, and disseminate information next year and for years to come. The use of cloud-based systems can ensure business continuity and create greater protection of digital data. It is important for your business to be aware of regulations and trends within cybersecurity to protect your business, your employees, your customers, and your reputation.