45 percent.That’s the number of Americans who’ve had their personal information compromised by a data breach within the last 5 years alone. With a statistic like that, it should come as no surprise that data privacy concerns are a leading issue among consumers across not only the United States, but the world.

What is surprising, however, is how many businesses don’t take the matter of data privacy management seriously. The truth is, 53% of companies have more than 1,000 sensitive files open to every employee, drastically increasing the chance of a cybersecurity attack or data breach.

Due to the lack of business-side concern for consumer privacy, global governments are getting involved to require businesses to protect their customers’ personal data with laws such as the GDPR and the CCPA.

But your business shouldn’t just look at privacy management as a way to comply with global and regional regulations. You should also look at it as a way to stand out from your competitors. In fact, 97% of companies have seen benefits like a competitive advantage or investor appeal from investing in privacy.

If you’re still not convinced, we’re presenting the reasons your business should invest in privacy management to uphold a competitive advantage today.

An Opportunity to Exceed Customer Expectations

Let’s start with the facts:

The numbers don’t lie: The consumer-company “trust bar” has been set very low.

Here are a few ways you can hold a competitive advantage by investing in privacy management:

1. Be Compliant with Regulations

Even if your business doesn’t operate within the realms of the GDPR or the CCPA, you should treat your privacy model as if you do. Why? Because these regulations set the bar high for how your organization should handle consumer data.

At the most basic level, you should have an easy-to-access – and more importantly – easy-to-read privacy agreement. Use it to be transparent with your customers about what you’re doing with their data, who it’s being shared with, (e.g. third-party vendors), and how long you intend to keep it.

2. Provide a Preference Management Portal to Consumers

This is another requirement under the CCPA. It’s also a good rule of thumb for any business to follow. Create an online portal that allows consumers to update their preference management to provide consent and update their consumer data as they please.

This not only shows your business is completely transparent, but your data will also be more accurate than ever. You can also customize your preference center to collect more relevant and personalized data. For example, you can use this portal to request optional data sections such as T-shirt size. If consumers choose to fill this out, your marketing team can do more targeted and personalized customer marketing campaigns in the future.

3. Build Privacy Management into Your Culture

Cultural change comes from the top down.

And if your executive suite isn’t passionate about privacy management, it will be difficult for the rest of the team to feel its importance. As a leader within your organization, make it proprietary to build a culture of privacy.

A few ways you can do this are to:

Create privacy ambassadors
Think of these as brand ambassadors for your privacy management program. Their role is to promote the privacy program to their teams. It’s beneficial to have these representatives in key functional areas across your organization, especially those significantly impacted by data use.

Talk about data privacy at the watercooler 
Find opportunities to educate your team about data privacy, even if it’s just in the break room. Did someone in your organization recognize a phishing scam email? Give that person a shoutout.

Another way to bring up data privacy at work is to add January 28th to your calendar.

It’s Data Privacy Day and you can find fun, creative ways to have your organization celebrate it. Some organizations are using it as a sort of early “spring cleaning” and ask employees to delete any data they no longer need from their computers.

Add privacy management to your employee handbook and require training

This is a great way to show employees from day one that your organization is serious about protecting customer data. Including data privacy in the employee handbook shows privacy management is a part of the values of your organization. Regular training will also help your team be aware of potential privacy attacks such as phishing scams.

Culture isn’t just the pretty words you place on your website as a recruiting mechanism. It’s the interactions that take place on an operational level day in and day out throughout your company from top to bottom.

For consumers to believe you genuinely have their data’s best interest in mind, you can’t just talk the talk. You must also walk the walk.

Conclusion: Automate Your Privacy Management

Keeping up with the growing landscape of privacy regulations is a full-time job in itself. That’s why so many organizations are turning to automation to help simplify the process and ensure they’re compliant.

As consumers request subject access requests and as your data begins to become more complex, automation will be key to fulfilling requests, mapping out data, and keeping your data privacy management operation successful.

If you’re ready to build trust with your customers and establish a firm competitive advantage in your industry, OneTrust Privacy Management can help. From complying with global privacy regulations to simplifying your compliance program, OneTrust has got you covered. Request a demo or see it in action for free today.