Tech Trends: Data Privacy Trends to Watch Out in 2021


Nobody saw it coming, but 2020 is a year that will definitely go down in the history books. We started the year with companies on the West Coast hurrying to comply with the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

Just a few months after, in March, businesses across various industries were forced to shift fully to remote work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies have to deal with reconfiguring personal data access and/or shared amid the new normal.

As we transition to another year, there are still plenty of uncertainties regarding data privacy. Though some businesses already opted to return to their offices, the reality is, more companies will move even more online, and remote work is here to stay.

With all these said, here are some key trends in data privacy to expect in 2021.

#1 Increased Data Protection Regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was introduced in 2018, paved the way for over 60 jurisdictions all over the world to pass or propose into law privacy or data protection measures. These jurisdictions include South Korea, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and several states in the United States.

With the increasing number of regions adopting or proposing these privacy regulations, it is projected that by 2023, over 65 percent of the global population will be covered by a privacy regulation. It will be a 10 percent increase as of date.

In 2020, the famous video-sharing app, TikTok, made several headlines for alleged data privacy violations. The lenient data privacy norms and the alleged infringement of the Chinese government in the system triggered this issue.

In response to such accusations, China announced its new security standards and called out other countries to follow.

With increasing demand by consumers for personal data protection, the number of data privacy regulations will only increase and strengthen this year and beyond.

#2 More Focus on Third-party Risk Management

As our world becomes more globalised, we have become more dependent on third-party service providers or vendors. From IT support and admin tasks to manufacturing and supply chain, we essentially need them for our company to run efficiently.

However, despite this dependence, only 35 percent of organisations agree that their third-party risk management is effective.

A study showed that over 63 percent of data breaches are attributed to third-party vendors. Apart from costing companies over $700,000 on average, data breaches caused by third-party vendors are extremely devastating to the image of an organisation.

In the past year, big names such as Instagram, General Electric, and T-mobile were victims of third-party data breaches, only highlighting the value of ensuring higher standards of privacy to protect information.

In 2021 and beyond, we are likely to see an increasing focus on third-party risk management. Consumers expect companies to hold third-party vendors to a much higher standard of privacy and security.

#3 Long-Term Remote Work Scheme

online security concept

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of companies around the world to change their business operation abruptly. Remote work was the viable option for countless businesses to continue operating amid the pandemic.

With this sudden shift to remote work, companies were tasked to keep up with regulatory requirements while modernising infrastructure and data privacy protection.

Though by the end of last year, businesses are slowly reopening and employees are returning to work, it is undeniable that the future is gearing towards a more permanent remote work solution.

As organisations fully transition to a more long-term workforce, it will be challenging to protect themselves against data storage issues and chances of a data breach. Nonetheless, privacy solutions by cybersecurity companies are readily available to help them out.

#4 Increased Consumer Demands for Transparency

The large-scale data breaches that have occurred in recent years exposing millions of personal information caused consumers to grow more concerned about their privacy.

In one survey, it was found out that over 50 percent of consumers are willing to switch companies due to the organisation’s data-sharing practices or data policies. Failure to protect consumer data does not only mean business loss, but it could also mean tarnishing your business’ reputation.

Building trust is the key to retaining customers and gaining new ones. Though it is not a quick process, it can make a significant impact on your company.

Consumer purchasing habits have changed since the start of the pandemic. More and more are opting to make their purchase online rather than going to physical stores. By earning and building trust in your consumers, you will definitely see increased digital commerce profits in no time.

COVID-19 Pandemic & Beyond

Though 2020 was a challenging year for many, it ushered in better long-term solutions, especially when it comes to data privacy concerns. Nonetheless, 2021 will remain a year of transition.

Data privacy policies will continue to evolve, and companies that readily embrace changes in data privacy are better prepared for the future.

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