Decoding the TrustArc 2023 Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey

In today’s digital world, where every click and tap leaves a footprint, privacy has become a cornerstone for enterprises worldwide. It transcends regulatory mandates and touches the very essence of brand trust, customer relationships, employee confidence, and enduring business collaborations.

global privacy benchmarks 2023

Navigating this constantly evolving terrain can be challenging, which is why insights into current trends, obstacles, and best practices are indispensable.

Enter the TrustArc Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey. Its 4th edition offers in-depth views into how corporations globally address privacy. With over 2,000 diverse respondents, this survey is a treasure trove of knowledge. Based on feedback around the world from executives, privacy professionals, management, and front-line employees, the report sheds light on how organizations are dealing with emerging privacy challenges.

Top 10 Privacy Insights from the 2023 Global Privacy Benchmarks Study

Let’s delve into the top 10 insights from the survey findings and the privacy considerations for professionals:

1. AI’s Growing Privacy Concerns

Among 18 potential challenges surveyed, “artificial intelligence implications in privacy” ranked first. AI, particularly Large Language Models (LLMs), introduces unprecedented privacy challenges.

As a starting point, a key query every privacy professional should ask: “Is the data used in alignment with the original individuals’ consent?”

2. The Power of Measurement

Companies that measure privacy performance inspire three times more confidence in their privacy efforts compared to those that do not. Active measurement of privacy performance is a multiplier of stakeholder confidence. We manage what we measure, as the business saying goes.

Organizations that actively measure their privacy performance also are in a much better place to streamline their privacy management processes. By benchmarking and tracking privacy OKRs, KPIs, and metrics, companies can better identify areas of improvement and demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding user data.

3. The Third-Party Risk Factor

third party risk managementThird-party risk management tops the list of privacy-related concerns and regulatory issues. Additionally, over 10% of companies lose trade partners due to risks in this area.

As organizations increasingly rely on external partners, both in their supply chains and in their data management systems, ensuring that these entities uphold privacy standards is crucial. Businesses, realizing these implications, sometimes prefer to sever ties with partners versus taking on potential privacy risks.

WIth third-party risk management emerging as a top concern, the motto for privacy professionals might well become: “Choose your partners wisely; like it or not, you may well be known by the company you keep.”

4. Governance Matters

Effective governance frameworks drive strong privacy outcomes. Despite being adopted by only 19% of companies, the Nymity Framework is associated with the highest Privacy Index scores among 13 frameworks and certification or compliance standards. The Nymity Privacy Management and Accountability™ (PMAF) Framework can be a game-changer.

When integrating frameworks to enhance their overall privacy strategy, privacy teams need to consider not what’s most popular but rather what’s most proven.

5. Small Players, Big Moves

As privacy regulations and enforcement expand globally, even smaller companies are stepping up their privacy game by allocating more resources, forming dedicated privacy teams, and adopting specialized privacy software. Although large enterprises have historically dominated the issue of privacy initiatives, smaller organizations are rapidly catching up.

Companies that wait until they reach a critical mass before building out robust privacy solutions may well find themselves losing to competitors who scaled with a privacy by design approach.

6. Diverse Privacy Perceptions

The global privacy landscape is a mixed bag: One-third of key stakeholders believe their companies excel at privacy, another third rate their performance as mediocre, and the remaining third think they’re failing. Even though the survey involved self ratings of privacy competencies, many provided mediocre or poor scores for their company.

It’s vital that privacy professionals continually assess and iterate on privacy strategies and manage stakeholder perceptions.

7. The Ever-Present Threat of Breaches

data-breachesPrivacy vulnerabilities are all too real, with two-thirds of companies having experienced privacy-related issues. Data breaches and large-scale cybersecurity attacks are the most common culprits. Despite best efforts, privacy-related issues persist.

Organizations must bolster their privacy maturity and security posture. With privacy vulnerabilities rampant, prevention is paramount. Along with proactive prevention, swift remediation strategies are the need of the hour.

8. Trust in Specialized Privacy Software

Specialized privacy management software instills high levels of confidence in privacy practices according to our TrustArc Privacy Index findings. The use of built-to-purpose privacy software results in greater privacy competence than that of more broad GRC software and greatly exceeds that of internally developed and free privacy tools.

As the privacy landscape becomes more complex, so too is the need for specialized privacy management software. Tailor-made privacy management software is all about privacy professionals using the right tools for the difficult job at hand.

9. The Preparedness Dividend

Companies “very prepared” for CCPA enforcement enjoy twice the employee confidence in privacy protection compared to less prepared organizations. Being well prepared for regulation enforcement not only ensures compliance but also boosts employee confidence in privacy efforts. It signals an organization’s commitment, and it can act as a competitive differentiator.

Readiness is a clear win-win.

10. Privacy as a Trust Pillar

Privacy remains a cornerstone of brand trust. In 2023, maintaining brand trust through robust privacy efforts has grown in importance by seven points, reaching 62%. In 2023, the link between brand trust and proactive privacy measures strengthened. As consumers become more informed about their privacy rights and the risks associated with data breaches, they increasingly associate brand trust with robust privacy efforts. 

In an era where every digital touchpoint matters, prioritizing privacy is not just an option; it is a linchpin of transformative corporate strategies. The TrustArc 2023 Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey lays it bare: Businesses globally are acknowledging the centrality of privacy and taking definitive actions.

A notable upward trajectory in small and medium companies establishing dedicated privacy teams along with the upward tick in our Privacy Index attest to this momentum. The ten insights above are a testament to a global shift in corporate ethos.

As the intricacies of the privacy terrain unfold, TrustArc stands with its clients as a beacon, illuminating and navigating the path forward.

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