Why robust security solutions are critical to privacy protection

By Bill Durham
We know that security without privacy is possible, but privacy without security is impossible. Helpful tips to ensure you have the right protection
Woman on laptop worried about privacy protection.

Here’s why security solutions are critical to privacy protection.

Although the concepts of security and privacy are interlinked, we know that security without privacy is possible, but privacy without security is impossible.

As technology advances and our heavy dependence on it expands, we become increasingly reliant on it. However, our reliance makes us more vulnerable to security threats such as identity theft and email hacking.

Inadequate security has placed information systems and their data at risk causing organizations and individuals significant consequences due to data loss.

As software developers, we like to talk about user-centered design. We put ourselves in the shoes of those who will use our app, service, or product. This process is baked into every aspect of a successful user-driven company’s software lifecycle.

Every decision is accompanied by the question, “What about the user?”

Let’s consider using the same approach when designing with privacy in mind. Instead of being an afterthought in the development process, privacy becomes a core tenet of an organization. Privacy By Design (PbD) accomplishes this.

A recent study by Gartner revealed that by the end of 2023, modern data privacy laws will cover 75% of the world’s population’s personal information.

GDPR was the first significant piece of consumer privacy legislation. Still, it was quickly followed by others, including Turkey’s Personal Data Protection Act (KVKK), Brazil’s General Personal Data Protection Act (LGPD), and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

Because of the breadth of these laws, you will have to manage multiple data protection laws in different jurisdictions, and customers will want to know what kind of data you collect from them and its purpose.

With the advent of technology and the ever-changing laws around privacy, now is the time to prioritize the automation of your data privacy management system. 

In terms of how to accomplish this, GDPR allows you to standardize security operations and then tailor them to individual jurisdictions.

In this article, we’ll look at Privacy by Design (PbD), how it’s created, and how it can give your company a competitive advantage while preparing it for future regulations.

What exactly is Privacy by Design?

PbD is a framework for integrating privacy into every aspect of your business. It prioritizes an individual’s privacy over all other considerations and encourages enterprises to make product decisions with the user’s privacy in mind.

Businessman use Laptop with interface of padlock and global network technology, Cyber Security Data Protection Business Technology Privacy concept, Internet Concept of global business.

What are the seven fundamental principles of Privacy by Design?

The following seven privacy principles serve as a framework for organizational measures, and they are high-level objectives that you can strive for to integrate into your organization’s core. 

Following these principles can make interacting with protection authorities easier, ensure privacy is a deep part of your design process, and serve as a foundation for implementing guidelines into your business.

Be proactive, not reactive

All systems should anticipate and prevent privacy-invading events from occurring.

Organizations should not wait for dangerous activities to happen and need to work to create processes that mitigate privacy risks.

To be successful, an organization’s leadership must commit to making privacy a core part of the company’s culture.

Proactive principles aim to set higher standards than international laws and regulations. When new rules emerge, a visionary company can adjust its reporting output rather than change how they do business.

Helpful hint: Implement a system, such as an automated data flow map, that can alert you to changes in your data processing activities. Doing this makes it much easier to demonstrate compliance and avoids an incomplete picture of your organization’s activities.

As the default setting

When creating systems with PbD, defaults are set with the privacy of an individual’s data in mind.

If a person uses your service without explicitly protecting their privacy, they should be able to expect to be covered by default. The GDPR adopted this principle in the form of “data protection by default,” also known as “privacy by default” elsewhere.

By default systems ensures that the purpose of data collection is always clear and communicated to the individual at or before collection. It follows best practices for data minimization and provides users with the controls they need to manage the collected data.

Helpful hint: Make all data processing and collection activities not essential to your service “opt-in.” In doing so, users are aware of when they are providing access.

Embedded into the design

I mentioned in the introduction to this article that, like user-driven companies, privacy-focused companies incorporate privacy into all aspects of their decision-making process. 

Building PbD into the design and architecture of all IT systems and business practices is not an afterthought but rather the result of making it an essential component of a company’s offering.

You can turn privacy into a competitive advantage by incorporating it into the design of your organization, even more so in industries where your competitors are less concerned. 

In cases like the GDPR’s data protection impact assessments (DPIA), you must make decisions when developing any high-risk feature.

Helpful hint: Include checks and reviews in your software development lifecycle just as you would continuous integration, testing, or quality assurance.

Positive-sum, not zero-sum

Rather than being a necessary trade-off, using PbD creates a win-win situation for both individuals and organizations. As organizations develop a privacy culture, they can help to prevent misaligned interests and instead act to find better solutions. 

The implementation of privacy should never compete with other organizational interests but rather act to reveal solutions.

Helpful Hint: Use privacy to your advantage when selling to internal stakeholders and customers.

End-to-end security

As the embedded system principle states, PbD is meant to exist throughout the product’s entire lifecycle. From conception to initial development to ongoing enhancements and maintenance. Including security, because no matter how much emphasis is placed on protecting an individual’s privacy, a lack of security controls will result in breaches.

Proper security standards in a PbD system assume personal information confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Helpful hint: Ensure that your organization has access controls, encryption, and a data security framework. Make sure hardware controls are in place, as well as software controls. SOC or ISO audits can help with this, and requiring them of your third-party processors should be a priority. SOC 2 and the ISO 27001 family of frameworks – including its privacy-focused 27701 system – are both excellent choices.

Visibility and Transparency

Having a visible and transparent approach to exposes all your practices. Users, stakeholders, and regulators can see that your business and processes operate as you claim.

Transparency allows your company to be accountable, open, and compliant to anyone observing your practices, just as you want to be able to verify that trusted information is accurate internally.

Helpful hint: Make your processes known rather than hiding them deep within the documentation. By prioritizing your user’s privacy, you’ll find it easier to explain how you use their collected data. If your users don’t understand the company’s use of their collected data, regulators may notice.

Respect for user privacy

The user and their privacy should be at the heart of your efforts. The most effective implementations of Privacy by Design prioritize the user’s needs and design around those needs.

Helpful hint: You can achieve this by concentrating on the following:

  • Consent obtained before or during data collection
  • The accuracy of your privacy statements and the integrity of the data you keep
  • When individual requests it, they have access to their data
  • Compliance with privacy and data security regulations, as well as your promises to the user
  • Respect for individuals’ privacy and data

Finishing up

PbD guides you to make good decisions; it does not tell you how.

Keep these principles in mind and our helpful hints when incorporating Privacy by Design into your organizations and software development processes.

Need Assistance?

While often overlooked, Privacy by Design is an essential requirement for GDPR compliance. Even if your organization is not subject to the UK or EU GDPR, it is a crucial principle many organizations choose to follow. 

Despite its importance, it can be a difficult concept to grasp, meet, and then implement, necessitating ongoing effort and documentation. 

At Basileia Consulting Group, we work with various organizations across multiple sectors, including research and life sciences, education, non-profit, and medical and healthcare, all verticals for which data security is paramount. 

Basileia Consulting Group assists other ERP software resellers and consultants with challenging implementations. To better ensure the successful adoption of ERP software across the entire company, we expanded the scope of our service offering eight years ago to include the complete suite of Microsoft business tools. We have established a name for ourselves in the industry as the people your software partner should contact whenever things go wrong.

Microsoft keeps tabs on real-time security risks around the world. If you suspect a threat has breached your defenses and caused a compromise or are concerned that you may be vulnerable, let us perform a complimentary Security Readiness Analysis on your infrastructure. Within 24 hours, you’ll have our quick, painless, 100% unbiased, and free recommendation.                                                                                                                                             `

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