The Importance of Privacy Acts And How To Remain Compliant In 2022

Privacy acts aren’t something you can just shrug your shoulders to as a business, disobeying them can have serious repercussions for your organisation. From major fines to reputational damage, it’s important to take privacy acts with the utmost care and attention, making sure you’re compliant in every way possible.

However, if you’re someone that’s not entirely sure what you can and can’t do with your own country’s privacy laws you’re not alone. In fact, in the US alone, a study found that 67% of internet users weren’t aware of their own country’s privacy and data protection rules. That means that many businesses are often navigating blindly when it comes to privacy acts.

In this guide, you’ll understand the importance of privacy acts and how they’re evolving, with more being introduced and more to surely come. What are privacy acts and how can your company remain compliant with them as we move through 2022 and beyond? You’ll find it all in this handy article.

What are privacy acts?

We all have the right to know how our data is being used, whether that be how it’s collected, how it is stored, and how it’s distributed or used. The internet and the growing demand for data has led to a lot of misuse in how this data is collected and used. Privacy acts are the result of a need to add more control and protection over that individual.

The data can be anything from personal healthcare, to financial and identifiable information. Privacy laws have existed long before the internet because there have always been opportunities for others to exploit and use a person’s information in the wrong way. As it’s stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to privacy.

However, how these rights are interpreted isn’t necessarily universal, which means for a business, the territories you operate in might need a certain approach from one country to another.

The growth of privacy acts and data protection rules

It’s certainly the case that privacy acts are growing in numbers, especially with the significant rise in cyber attacks and data breaches occurring online. Data breaches and cybercrimes are attacks that cost businesses a lot of money. In fact, the 2022 Cybersecurity Almanac report by Cisco predicted that the overall cost of cybercrime would hit $10.5 trillion by 2025.

With many governments now getting involved with their state or country’s data issues, businesses need to ramp up their efforts tenfold when it comes to improving their compliance to all things privacy and data protection related.

There are a number of prominent privacy acts that have been implemented in recent years, the major one being the EU’s GDPR. Other recent privacy acts include the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), India’s Personal Data Protection Bill, and Thailand’s Personal Data Protection (PDPA) to name but a few.

You can check out Osanos guide to the California Privacy Rights Act to understand what rules are in place with this jurisdiction in particular. With over 130 jurisdictions now having privacy laws, it’s only natural now for your business to require adherence to certain privacy and data protection rules.

The importance of privacy acts 

For businesses, it can be a greater risk of exposure to cybercriminals because of how much data is held by the organisation. At the same time, such a volume of information in one person’s or company’s hands can be dangerous if not used correctly. That’s why privacy acts are important to have in place. 

Prevent governments from spying on you without reason

Privacy acts prevent governments from spying on you without a legitimate reason. There have certainly been scenarios in the past where this has happened and while a government may be responsible for protecting its citizens, that shouldn’t be to the extent of compromising their privacy without reason.

Holds rulebreakers accountable for their actions or lack thereof

One of the benefits of data protection and privacy acts in place, is that it holds those accountable for their actions. It doesn’t let the rulebreakers simply get away from their actions. Companies that don’t adhere to privacy policies could face major fines and payouts to compensate customers who’ve been wronged.

With privacy acts, everyone who is responsible for collecting and storing information that’s not theirs needs to comply. Otherwise, the fallout for that individual or organisation could be damaged beyond repair if they’re found to have ignored these rules and acts in place.

Protects your finances 

Businesses need to protect their finances and that’s the case regardless of their size. With privacy acts, they often come with hefty fines if they’re not adhered to. Typically they’ll charge a range up to a certain amount or a percentage of the company’s annual turnover. These are big fines that could be damaging, to the extent that it’s hard for that business to bounce back.

For those handing over their confidential and personal information, data protection rules in place do everything they can when it comes to protecting the business from data breaches. The more tightened security is in place, the less likely the business itself is going to fall victim to a breach.

Builds trust in all relationships

Trust in any relationship is key, especially when it comes to the customer and the business they’re handing over their information to. Building trust is something that takes time and isn’t immediately achievable just from that initial interaction. 

Companies that adhere to these data protection rules and regulations show the customer that they’ve put their trust in the right place. The worst scenario is for a customer to realise that they’ve trusted a business with their information and in the case of a data breach, the company’s found to have done nothing to keep their data secure.

A loss of trust or a lack thereof can be seriously damaging to a business of any kind.

Protects your reputation

Reputation is a necessity for a business and with 60% of consumers seeing negative reviews as a turn-off for using a business, it’s important to look after your customers.

Privacy acts are a great way to help prevent any fallout from data breaches should they happen. It helps protect a business’s reputation if they’ve been seen to do everything they can to protect its customers and unfortunately have not been able to prevent some inevitable. 

How to improve and remain compliant as a business in 2022

How can a business improve and remain compliant in 2022? With privacy acts constantly evolving and new ones popping up, it can be hard to keep on top of it. 

However, for your business to continue existing legitimately and without issues in this modern digital world, adhering to these rules is crucial. Here are a few ways to improve and remain compliant as a business.

1. Determine which data regulations relate to your business

Look at your customers and those that you are likely to draw in geographically. That’s going to help you determine which data privacy acts you need to pay attention to. 

Even if you’re not selling in a certain jurisdiction yet, existing traffic data might show that you’re already getting interested in that particular area. It’s always good to keep ahead and be knowledgeable of any potential data privacy acts you might need to adhere to.

2. Create a data privacy policy and enforce it across all workforce

A data privacy policy is one of the easiest ways of rolling out the rules to the rest of the workforce. It also helps protect the business, should an employee choose to ignore the rules and breach them. There are lots of data privacy policies available online for you to use as templates or as a guide to help build a policy from scratch.

3. Implement the relevant frameworks and security measures

Having the right frameworks and security measures in place for your business and any applications that you use to store data is crucial. If you’re not keeping up with security measures, then cyber attackers can spot vulnerable chinks in your business armour.

4. Conduct internal audits and stay updated with any changes

Finally, be sure to conduct internal audits of your data storage and to ensure you’re remaining compliant with any updated changes that have come from these data privacy acts in place. Setting Google Alerts to relevant privacy acts is an easy way of getting flagged with any changes to the acts themselves.

Use these tips to remain compliant in 2022

Privacy acts and data protection rules are something that you can’t run away from if you’re responsible for handling data in any capacity that’s not yours. With that being said, using these tips will certainly help you remain compliant in 2022.

Natalie Redman bio

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