In this digital age, trust is paramount. Trust between individuals, governments and private companies is first established through identification. However, the way that identity information is shared and stored can make a big impact on whether data privacy and security is maintained for individual users. By using encryption techniques, establishing accountability and transparency within an organizations and leveraging privacy-preserving identity solutions, security leaders can establish trust and ensure data protection.

Use encryption best practices

Staying up-to-date on industry regulations and following the NIST framework provides a strong foundation for cybersecurity practices. Organizations should also leverage encryption strategies to maximize their data security, enabling them to operate confidently in an increasingly digital landscape.

Encryption is essential to safeguard private data from those with nefarious motives. Through an algorithmic process known as ciphering, the original text or information is converted into a code that can only be understood when decrypted using the correct key, ensuring accessibility and security of critical digital transmissions. That said, no system is infallible, all data can become vulnerable to skilled hackers without the proper end-point protection measures in place.

When it comes to protecting your data, encryption is vital. Different methods vary regarding how much they can safeguard and the type of security needed for successful decryption. Knowing which kind best suits you depends on legal or industry regulations and what works best for your business. 

DES encryption revolutionized the security world when it was introduced in the ‘70s, but its strength proved short-lived. Hackers quickly caught up with this 56-bit system, and soon a new tool emerged — Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES). As its name suggests, 3DES provides an additional layer of protection by using three separate keys instead of one, yet it also takes longer for data encryption. For ultimate safety, AES is used by organizations dealing with sensitive information as well as governments worldwide due to having symmetric key encryption and being generally accepted as one of the most secure systems available today.

To ensure the security of sensitive data, companies should employ advanced encryption and hashing techniques to protect their databases in transit and at rest. Removing original identifying information from stored media negates potential risks associated with improper access. Meanwhile, using a hashed identifier increases protection against linking users' personal details (i.e., email addresses or Social Security numbers) if exposed during unauthorized third-party testimony — ultimately reducing any risk of detriment for those whose data is being protected through this means. Companies must be mindful when designing their storage solutions that individual subjects remain anonymous even under pressure by external forces seeking out private information belonging to them. 

Also, depending on the industry, additional certifications are required to make cybersecurity, data protection and privacy stacks even more robust. An example is SOC2 — a certification that enables companies to provide customers with information and assurance about their information security program. 

Stay accountable and transparent

Governments worldwide are enacting data privacy regulations to ensure users have control over their personal information and keep businesses accountable. The GDPR of the European Union is a well-known example, while California’s CCPA has become an essential benchmark in the United States. Unfortunately, with only five states enacted laws so far, America finds itself at risk due to lacking comprehensive legislation, unlike its global counterparts: these sector-specific rules can be complex for organizations and customers alike to navigate as compliance costs rise exponentially.

As the U.S. continues to host many data services, businesses face the potential legislative changes that come with it. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) is currently being considered by Congress, which could lead to a unified approach to protecting customer privacy within domestic and international companies — making progress toward its passing in 2023, dependent upon current political climates. Companies should remain updated about any developments around ADPPA to plan for possible implications of this major legislation shift.

The Biden administration has set the gears toward an updated Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework, commonly referred to as "Privacy Shield 2.0". Upon its expected completion by early 2023, organizations should work proactively and remain ahead of the curve to comply with this new level of data security measures between U.S. and European Union jurisdictions. When implemented, companies must take proactive steps to successfully transition into these upcoming regulations.

Governments worldwide are responsibly implementing regulatory measures to ensure citizens' rights and safety through increased transparency on social media platforms. Australia, Canada and Europe Union members like Germany and Ireland, the U.K., and the U.S. have either adopted or plan to adopt policies that require companies operating in these jurisdictions to disclose publicly more information about how they manage content within their systems. These regulations aim not only at protecting consumers but also striving for higher standards of public trust by defining expected corporate behavior without burdening corporations.
In order to fully understand the risks and benefits associated with organizations, supply chains and trading partners, all stakeholders must provide clear visibility into their practices. Consumers should be given access to information that details how companies implement due diligence mechanisms within their value chain systems in regard to many aspects of the business. Global regulatory moves have begun furthering transparency measures that increase accountability processes worldwide. A few examples as follows:
  • OECD Transparency and Accountability Guide for State Ownership: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) emphasizes the importance of transparency as a cornerstone of good governance. Transparency helps bridge information gaps between stakeholders, allowing informed decisions against more accurate data points. By making relevant information timely accessible, OECD ensures that organizations are better equipped in their mission towards effective management decision-making.
  • U.S. Digital Accountability and Transparency ActIn 2014, the U.S. Congress enacted The Data Act to increase the quality and transparency of the Federal Government's grant/scholarship data. The Department of Treasury and Office of Management & Budget were brought on board to set government-wide standards for recording spending information tied with federal grants. This law mandated that all associated records be stored in a single public database, making it easier to track each step — from Congressional voting right through disbursement — ensuring high levels of openness along every stage.
Regardless of the upcoming changes on the regulatory landscape, according to legislation, data subject rights must be requested by the data subject from the Controller — customers, who, if applicable, will send companies the requests to assist them in fulfilling their legal obligation, making transparency a key aspect of the relationship between both sides. 

Additionally, by introducing ethical principles into data protection, anonymity and pseudonymity can be ensured to reduce the likelihood of unethical decisions from processed information and standards that may lead to discriminatory practices. Although anonymization strategies effectively mitigate this risk, they cannot provide a complete safeguard against potential harm caused by misuses or abuses.

As humanity continues to evolve and technology advances, data ethics has become an unavoidable reality for today's companies. By recognizing the responsibility that comes with data processing and treating it in a conscientious manner that is mindful of legal issues as well as ethical values, businesses can ensure respect for human rights while paving the way toward open societies built on pluralistic ideals.

Leverage Privacy-Preserving Identity Solutions

Companies should proactively protect data and prioritize solutions that distinguish illegitimate users efficiently while minimizing the effort required of their trusted customers. With continual developments in technology to combat fraudulence, businesses must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to security measures.

New device authentication presents a unique challenge — it's hard to distinguish between legitimate users and attackers attempting account takeover. Traditional fingerprinting solutions can't help as they have no information on the device, so apps are left with fewer options than implementing multi-factor Authentication (MFA). However, this, unfortunately, means that all users must go through an additional layer of security in the form of OTP over SMS, which increases friction for both genuine and malicious parties alike.

Biometric authentication has been touted as the ideal way to achieve efficient and secure access control, utilizing innovative technologies such as fingerprints, iris recognition and facial recognition. While boasting numerous advantages — from convenience through reduced user friction to contactless account security — these solutions are not infallible. Despite popular belief that biometrics can be employed in isolation for complete protection against breaches, organizations should remain mindful of potential vulnerabilities this technology cannot address.

The unfortunate reality is that all systems are hackable. This is why taking a layered approach to account security, with each layer providing a different defense, is a best practice for delivering superior account protection. 

As traditional technologies that depend on sensitive information lose effectiveness, businesses increasingly turn to behavior-based solutions. 

Technologies are shaping the future of digital privacy, allowing users to enjoy secure access and usage without sacrificing their security. Companies can now build a tech-driven revolution that prioritizes data protection while granting smooth user experiences with little friction — all without compromising personal information or identity. As technology evolves further, all companies need to become data privacy experts.