Businesses of all shapes and sizes are trying to carve out a competitive advantage by leveraging digital information. The most cutting-edge companies harness customer preference data for a range of reasons, including to create personalised services and targeted marketing campaigns; to scrutinise employee performance data to drive productivity; and to analyse supply chain information to drive efficiencies. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with digitised data embedded across business practices.
Digital information offers businesses huge potential, but owing to the increased use of personal data, it also creates vulnerabilities and interdependencies between two previously discrete threats – data privacy and security. For example, data breaches can result from a cyber attack, but have data privacy implications.
GDPR and other international data privacy regulations have started to bite, meaning businesses are starting to feel the commercial cost of data privacy violations. So it is perhaps no surprise that we see data privacy rising up the business agenda. Grant Thornton’s research of over 4,500 international business leaders found that 2 in 3 agreed that due to new regulation there has been a greater focus on privacy issues than there has on cyber security in recent years in their business.
However, it’s important to not lose focus on the real and growing cyber security risk - the number of cyber attacks causing losses in excess of $1m has increased by 63% during the past three years.[i]
Mike Harris, cyber security services, Grant Thornton Ireland, emphasises that data privacy and cyber security have never been more interlinked.
“In today’s data-driven world, data privacy and cyber security simply cannot be considered in isolation,” he says. “They should be viewed instead as part of a wider digital risk function.