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Strengthening Consumer Trust: An Interview with Nathan Vega, VP at Protegrity

In this interview, Nathan Vega, Vice President, Product Marketing & Strategy at Protegrity, discusses the crisis of confidence among consumers regarding data privacy and the implications of missing social contracts on businesses. Vega outlines essential steps companies must take to rebuild trust and ensure responsible data practices, emphasizing the importance of transparency, robust security measures, and innovative technologies to safeguard consumer data while driving growth.

Findings suggest a crisis of confidence among consumers, with many hesitant to engage with companies they don't trust with their data. Can you discuss the implications of missing social contracts on businesses in the US, and what steps should companies take to rebuild or strengthen these contracts?

 

Social contracts are vital in preserving data privacy and security trust between businesses and consumers. These contracts provide the ethical frameworks surrounding transparency and accountability, ultimately enhancing consumer confidence in sharing sensitive data with companies. Given the heightened reliance on data for businesses, both fiscally and reputationally, missing such contracts can have significant implications. It can lead to a loss of consumer trust and, in severe cases, potential legal consequences due to privacy breaches. Therefore, maintaining robust social contracts is imperative in fostering trust and ensuring ethical data practices between businesses and their customers.

 

Organizations must recognize that assuming a social contract between two entities doesn’t always guarantee mutual understanding. To strengthen these contracts, both parties should clearly understand the frameworks. Organizations can achieve this by prioritizing transparency and over-communicating their data protection strategies, including how data is collected, used and protected. Establishing a landing page or dedicated platform outlining the privacy policy on customer data usage and storage can aid in mitigating miscommunication. Internally, ensuring adherence to these policies is vital. Investing in cybersecurity measures and maintaining compliance with regulations are crucial steps to foster strong customer relationships.

 

Given that 81% of consumers feel the way a company handles their data reflects how they are valued as customers, what are some practical strategies businesses can implement to harness data responsibly while ensuring they drive their growth strategies without compromising on privacy?

 

Ensuring growth and data responsibility requires a collaborative strategy involving companies, government and stakeholders. Organizations must create frameworks that enable data sharing and adhere to data compliance requirements. Data sharing is a linchpin, unlocking growth opportunities through seamless collaboration with external partners and supply chains that can spur economic benefits. This capability empowers companies to aggregate and analyze data across various businesses and regions while maintaining robust security and privacy measures to foster trust in every interaction.

 

However, companies must approach innovation thoughtfully, recognizing that customer data can often be restricted within on-premise siloes. Liberating this data through modern data solutions enables safe utilization across an entry's data lifecycle, including diverse applications, data warehouses, and analytical tools. They are ultimately fueling innovation and uncovering new revenue streams.


To minimize data risk, companies must rethink traditional tools and embrace more innovative ones that meet industry compliance requirements while enhancing data accessibility. This entails leveraging third-party vendors to unlock business value from data, including cloud-managed data warehouses, applications and analytical tools. By finding solutions that strike a balance, businesses can accelerate security review cycles and securely integrate sensitive data into third-party products.


Additionally, adopting zero-trust principles is essential. Organizations must use solutions that enable data control at the granular level, safeguarding it from unauthorized viewing, especially from insider threats. Modern security operations offer diverse solutions under this framework, providing situational awareness to track threats effectively.


With data breaches becoming more frequent and the public increasingly aware of data privacy issues, what are some innovative approaches or technologies that you believe can help businesses enhance data security and consumer trust simultaneously?

 

Companies should prioritize solutions that adhere to compliance standards and safeguard sensitive data to instill consumer trust in data management. Sensitive data, encompassing Personal Identifiable Information, Personal Health Information, Payment Card Industry Information, and Intellectual Property (PII, PHI, PC, and IP), require stringent protection measures. Businesses often turn to Privacy-Enhancing technologies (PETs) to enforce Zero Trust principles on data to ensure secure data handling while maintaining high usability. By safeguarding data integrity throughout its lifecycle and enhancing usability, businesses foster innovation and enable analysts and scientists to leverage data without compromising individual privacy, which can bolster consumer trust.

 

It is important to remember that compliance standards will vary across industries. Sectors like finance will have more stringent regulatory requirements, and organizations should adopt more scalable data protection solutions such as sensitive data discovery and hybrid cloud encryption, often through marketplace partnerships. These measures ensure that security standards meet industry requirements, preserving consumer trust while responsibly managing data. In addition, ensure transparency with consumers about these efforts, ensuring they understand how their data is protected and its flexible use, reinforcing trust and commitment to data responsibility.

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