DEREK SMITH: Data protection key to corporate success


Derek Smith

The value of data in today’s commercial world has grown exponentially. Data about customers provides insights into their behaviour, fuels product and service development, facilitates personalised experiences, and drives go-to-market strategies for business. Customers’ data is routinely shared with partners as part of many corporate business models. Yet the manner in which data is transferred is being impacted by increased regulation. Moreover, the same data that drives businesses can also pose a significant threat to consumers’ privacy if not adequately protected.

Data privacy refers to the ability of individuals to control the use and dissemination of their personal data. Data protection refers to the measures taken to safeguard data from unauthorised access, modification or destruction. The impact of data privacy and protection is significant, affecting businesses, governments and individuals alike.

Businesses can benefit from data privacy and protection. Mishandling customer data can severely damage a company’s reputation. Millions of dollars in revenue can be lost as a result of a data breach, as well as customer trust. The likes of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have also enacted more stringent data privacy regulations that can result in hefty fines for non-compliance.

The impact on individuals is equally significant. Identity theft, financial fraud and other forms of cybercrime are on the rise due to the prevalence of data breaches. According to the Identity Theft Resource Centre, over 642m records were exposed by data breaches in the US in 2021. As a result, individuals and businesses must protect their data.

The shift towards a more transparent and accountable digital economy is a major result of data privacy and protection. Data privacy rights are becoming increasingly important to consumers, and businesses are expected to be transparent when it comes to how their data is being used. An IBM survey from 2021 found that 78 percent of respondents were only willing to buy from companies they could trust with their personal information. As a result, consumer purchasing decisions are becoming increasingly influenced by data privacy and protection.

Another impact of data privacy and protection is the need for businesses to implement more robust security measures. Data security has become more important for companies as cyber threats grow. Based on a survey conducted by Accenture in 2021, the average cyber-attack cost companies $4.27m. Data breaches are preventable, and business operations can be protected by investing in cybersecurity.

In conclusion, businesses, governments and individuals need to protect and safeguard their personal data. Data privacy and security can affect everything, whether it is a consumer’s purchasing decision, a company’s reputation or financial stability. Businesses must prioritise cybersecurity and data protection measures in light of the increasing frequency of data breaches and cybercrime. Similarly, governments must continue enacting robust data privacy legislation to protect citizens’ private data and ensure businesses are held accountable for mishandling it. By prioritising data privacy and protection, we can create a more transparent and secure digital economy that benefits everyone.

NB: About Derek Smith Jr

Derek Smith Jr. has been a governance, risk and compliance professional for more than 20 years. He has held positions at a TerraLex member law firm, a Wolfsburg Group member bank and a ‘big four’ accounting firm. Mr Smith is a certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS), and the assistant vice-president, compliance and money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) for CG Atlantic’s family of companies (member of Coralisle Group) for The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment