4 trends that will impact how businesses focus on data in 2020

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In 2017, a headline in The Economist read “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” As we enter a new decade, not only is this still true but the value of data is continuing to grow exponentially.

With a New Year comes new data regulations and more sophisticated security attacks. Data will not only be at the forefront of IT teams but the entire C-level executive team.

I see situations every day of businesses struggle with the exponential increase of data and the implications this causes to their business. In 2020, there are four things I believe we'll see come up over and over again that all organizations should be aware of.

The value of data continues to grow — driving greater demand for privacy/security

In today’s world, data is more valuable than gold and it’s more than just CEOs and CMOs who are realizing this; malicious cybercriminals are too. According to recent research, the first six months of 2019 saw more than 3,800 publicly-disclosed breaches exposing an incredible 4.1 billion compromised records. That’s just half the year — 2019 is set to be a record-breaking year for data breaches.

As we start a new decade, organizations will need to put more focus on discovering where all of their data lives, determining whether it’s sensitive and how to best secure it. New compliance standards like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are creating an opportunity for organizations to develop good data management policies that allows them to better protect themselves from data breaches.

CCPA will be under a microscope

When GDPR rolled out, the fines were so high that many companies questioned if they would even be enforced. It wasn’t until this past year when The Information Commissioner's Office in the UK fined British Airways $230M as a result of the 2018 data breach that organizations realized these fines were taken very seriously.

But the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), set to become effective next January 1, will raise a new standard for consumer privacy rights at the U.S. state level. Falling in line with the privacy laws of Massachusetts, Vermont, Ohio and others, state and local governments will closely monitor the business impact privacy regulations like CCPA have on their local economies. They’ll want to understand whether or not organizations will continue to do business in the states with harsher privacy laws or if they look elsewhere to avoid costly fines.

To combat this internally, CISOs and those whose role it is to handle security and compliance will look for tools and solutions to help them achieve compliance standards and regulations.

GDPR and Brexit: Continued chaos

Simply put, in the short term, Brexit will have no impact on GDPR as it will continue to apply to the UK once it leaves the EU. As it stands now, GDPR will be incorporated into UK domestic law as part of the European Union (Withdrawal) Agreement and will continue to function alongside the Data Protection Act of 2018. However, there are some lingering questions that still require answers.

Currently, the GDPR states that personal data can only be transferred out of the European Economic Area to countries with an adequate level of protection. What will the position be for EU companies needing to transfer personal data to the UK? And what about transfers of data from the UK to the USA post-Brexit? Will the UK have to negotiate its own arrangements with the US? Will it attempt to piggyback on the Privacy Shield arrangements that the US has with the EU?

Businesses will be looking to the UK government and the Information Commissioner to clarify such questions because without the effective free flow of personal data, there will be a detrimental effect on the economy of the UK. We can expect to see some answers to these questions in 2020. In the meantime, businesses will need to be on their toes and ready to adapt to new changes quickly as the election and Brexit’s timeline is still in flux.

Need for Data Security within Freemium Modeled Companies

As retail continues to move from brick and mortar to online only, we will see an increased focus on data privacy and security — not just in traditional retail but throughout every business conducting e-commerce.

Two industries that we expect to see an added data security pressure are gaming and social networking. Both industries run on a freemium model - one that we see continuing to gain momentum in 2020. In this model, customers are either paying for a product outright or the company is collecting personal data in exchange for a good or service. There are little compliance regulations for this model.

As we move into 2020, companies with this freemium model will need to prioritize their security measures for the destruction and disposal of personal data and transactions. If they do not comply with consumer privacy and data regulations as well as security regulations to avoid fraud and cyberattack, they will see severe data threats.

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