Led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of Data Protection Day in Europe. Observed annually on January 28, Data Protection Day commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

As a returning Data Privacy Day Champion Organization, Pivotal IT is part of the growing global effort among nonprofits, academic institutions, corporations, government entities, municipalities and individuals to raise awareness at home, at work and school and in their communities. Through collaboration and unified, consistent messaging about privacy and protecting personal information, all Data Privacy Day Champions are working toward the common goal of improving individual and business consciousness toward respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust.  

Own Your Privacy

Each year, data breaches continue to grow in size and scope – exposing consumers’ sensitive, personal information and businesses’ valuable data. Against this backdrop, Data Privacy Day helps spread awareness about privacy and educates citizens on how to secure their personal information and works to encourage businesses to be more transparent about how they collect, store and use data. To promote these goals, Data Privacy Day’s 2020 theme is “Own Your Privacy.”

Consumers are concerned about privacy

Consumers are becoming more concerned about who can access their information and why. With the California Consumer Privacy Act taking effect this year and other states considering similar legislation, data privacy will become a central issue for businesses in 2020. A recent survey by Pew Research Center found that majorities of Americans think their personal data is less secure now than five years ago and that data collection poses more risks than benefits. For example:

  • A majority of Americans report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies (79 percent) or the government (64 percent).
  • Fully 79 percent of Americans say they are not too confident or not at all confident that companies will admit mistakes and take responsibility if they misuse or compromise personal information, and 69 percent report having this same lack of confidence that firms will use their personal information in ways they will be comfortable with.

Privacy is Good for Business

Protecting your customers’ privacy is a competitive advantage. Respecting consumers’ privacy is a smart strategy for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation and growth.  Cisco's 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study showcased the importance of having good privacy processes and also highlighted some of the financial benefits. Some of the top findings from the study include:

  • Sales delays due to data privacy concerns are widespread and significant in length. 65 percent of organizations reported that they have delays in their sales cycle, and among all respondents, the average sales delay was 7.8 weeks.
  • The sales delays varied by country and industry. The longest delays by country occurred in Latin America and Mexico, and by industry in the government and healthcare sectors. Notably, the average sales delay was highly correlated with the privacy maturity level of the organization.
  • Sales delays also varied significantly by the organizational model adopted for the privacy resources. A hybrid model, which has a mix of centralized and decentralized privacy resources, had shorter delays (4.6 weeks), compared to models with fully centralized (9.8 weeks) or decentralized resources (7.1 weeks).
  • The level of privacy maturity also correlated with the likelihood and costs of data breaches. 74 percent of privacy-immature companies experienced a cyber loss of over $500,000 in the last year, compared to only 39 percent of privacy-mature companies.
Tips for Transparency and Trust

Privacy is everyone’s business: If you collect it, protect it. Follow reasonable security measures to keep individuals’ personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access.

Transparency builds trust. Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used and design settings to protect their information by default.

Build trust by doing what you say you will do. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

Conduct due diligence and maintain oversight of partners and vendors. If someone provides services on your behalf, you are also responsible for how they collect and use your consumers’ personal information.

Help Employees be Privacy Aware

Encourage employees to update their individual account privacy settings by visiting Update Your Privacy Settings on staysafeonline.org

Invite outside speakers to talk to employees about why privacy matters. Engage your staff by asking them to consider how privacy and data security apples to work they do on the daily basis, regardless of department.

Create a #PrivacyAware culture by encouraging employees to sign up as Data Privacy Day Champions - it's free and the NCSA will provide a toolkit of special resources. Share messages about privacy around the office and via communication platforms.

For more information about Data Privacy Day and how to get involved visit staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day.