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What Have the Romans Done for Us? An Overview of Privacy Benefits

by   in Cybersecurity

It’s almost certainly one of the most quoted line from Monty Python’s Life of Brian: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” Reg, the leader of the People’s Front of Judea (or is it the Judea’s People Front?), asks his group this question, trying to agitate and galvanize them into taking action against their oppressors. 

I can imagine that a similar conversation is happening in the IT and legal departments of many of the world’s companies in relation to the ever-expanding glut of privacy laws and regulations that they have to adhere to. “What has privacy ever done for us?” 

Well, let me take on the role of the people who make up Reg’s group and try and provide some positives for a business putting aside the benefits for us as an individuals and citizens. 

  • Increased trust and credibility with customers, partners, and suppliers. Being more transparent in relation to collection, storage, and use of PII data customers will feel more confident in sharing with one organization over another. 
  • A better cyber and data security posture, through encryption, pseudonymisation, and better monitoring and access controls. Leading to fewer and less severe breaches. 
  • A streamlined and clear data management approach. This involves maintaining data inventories, documenting data flows, and implementing data protection impact assessments. Adhering to these requirements can lead to improved data governance, streamlined data handling and deletion practices, and a more efficient data management system overall. The benefit of understanding what data is being collected, who owns it, why it is kept and for how long can not be underestimated. 
  • More accurate data that is able to drive better insights. In the world of recommendation engines, neural networks, machine learning, and AI models, the person who has the best data builds the best and most accurate models. 
  • Rapid adoption of new technologies and state of the art practices such as data catalogues, privacy enhancing technologies, and data lineage tracking can provide a competitive edge. Allowing early adopters to gain a competitive advantage, do things better, quicker, and cheaper differentiating themselves from competitors. 
  • Less data storage leading to less servers, less disks, simpler backup meaning less cost, and CO2 emissions. 
  • A stronger internal relationship between legal, risk, IT, and the leadership team and a greater understanding of the perspective of each other steering an organization to all pulling in the same direction. 
  • Mitigated legal risk and a higher likelihood of avoiding fines or other sanctions. Following the regulations, businesses minimize the risk of legal consequences and associated costs, helping protect the business from potential investigations, fines, and reputational damage that would arise from data breaches or violations of privacy regulations. 

Complying with privacy regulations like GDPR offers businesses advantages such as enhanced data protection, increased customer trust, competitive advantages, improved global reach, streamlined data management, and mitigated legal risks. By prioritizing privacy and data protection, businesses can build stronger relationships with customers, foster trust, and establish themselves as responsible stewards of personal information. 

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