Restoring Trust in a Post-GDPR World


Although the GDPR and similar legislation have increased consumers’ understanding of data privacy, and the stiff penalties will likely improve privacy long-term, trust in organizations is suffering. Frequent reports about data leaks and larger numbers of consumers responding with litigation are causing problems for many companies. 

To preserve trust in your organization, consider implementing Cyber Security Fabric, a solution that enables organizations to classify data, monitor access, and ensure compliance with data laws, all of which will help build trust with customers. 

GDPR is Eroding, Not Building, Trust

Despite the best efforts of leaders in Europe, the GDPR has had some unintended consequences. According to Infosecurity, 67% of IT leaders believe that the GDPR has had a negative impact on consumer trust in companies. While some of this may be attributed to high-profile lawsuits, the GDPR has improved many people’s data security literacy, which has in turn encouraged them to be suspicious about the use of their data. Users are much less likely to accept cookies or allow themselves to be tracked by apps, which has somewhat hindered companies’ development strategies. 

Media coverage is doing organizations no favors. Higher awareness of data privacy rules and strategies is a good thing, but when it is combined with intense coverage of a large company’s data breach or other security incident, users tend to reactively hide more of their data or request its deletion. On top of that, their belief that the company from which they purchase goods or services will serve their best interests is affected. When a large security incident hits close to home, many users are less willing to allow companies to use the person’s data. 

Where Trust Breaks Down

This doesn’t mean that the customer is not justified. In fact, many companies are not handling data properly, and customers are paying for these mistakes when data is leaked or stolen. Amazon, Instagram, and Equifax violated GDPR policies or  failed to observe standard best security practices, which led each of them to settlements requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in payments. Much of the money is going toward funds for affected consumers who will need credit monitoring and other protection services due to their increased risk of identity theft. 

Following the disaster that was Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal a few years ago, you might have thought at least one company would be on top of data security. To the frustration of Facebook users everywhere, Meta, its parent company, was fined over $1 billion in May for violating the GDPR. Meta is expected to change its data transfer practices within the next 6 months, but the damage to its reputation is done. Facebook’s user count has been declining and continues to do so. 

Many people don’t spend a lot of time worrying about their privacy, but companies collect massive amounts of personal information about their customers, which can lead to numerous problems for consumers. The biggest worry is identity theft, but many attackers will sell that personal data to other companies for a profit or use it to compromise other accounts belonging to those consumers. Privacy is increasingly becoming a priority for the average consumer, and an increasing number are willing to bring lawsuits over it.  

Data Management and Security Are Essential for Trust

To improve trust in your organization, it’s important to minimize your risk of a data breach or leak as much as possible. Your customers trust you with their personal information, so it’s essential that you know where the data is, how it’s being used, and how it’s secured. This is data visibility, and it is necessary for preventing attackers from accessing sensitive data. You can’t protect data if you don’t know where to find them. 

However, if you are able to build a secure environment that you can demonstrate to customers through strict access protocols and automated security measures, you will likely be considered more trustworthy than many other organizations. Data Security Fabric solutions provide the centralized visibility and management needed to build a trusting relationship between your organization and your customers. These solutions work in cloud or hybrid environments, even if there are multiple cloud service providers. 

Security Fabric addresses potential exploits in your entire network and cloud infrastructure. Automated discovery tools will find any improperly classified data faster than a manual review, and you can receive alerts when data are not stored correctly. This helps you catch any poorly secured sensitive data that should be encrypted. 

Additionally, these solutions monitor access to all of your data, so you will be alerted to unusual activity. Security Fabric will keep access logs, supervise users, and ensure that you have a secure, zero-trust environment. Ironically, one of the best ways to build trust with customers is to follow zero-trust policies internally. 

Despite the GDPR violations making waves in the media, it’s very possible to have a trusting relationship with your customers. However, trust is earned, especially when so many massive data security incidents have occurred in the last few years. To build that trust, it’s important to keep your customers’ data secure, which requires accurate and thorough visibility, zero-trust, and Security Fabric solutions.