Year after year, security, risk, and privacy professionals told us that keeping up with evolving privacy requirements is one of their top challenges. To help them with this task, we’ve created Forrester’s Global Map Of Privacy Rights And Regulations 2021. The new map:

  • Tracks and explains the privacy and cybersecurity regulations of 101 countries around the world.
  • Comes with a new digital, interactive experience, with new features and functionalities to help you easily find and consume the details you’re after.
  • Will be updated continuously with relevant information as it becomes available, such as new regulations or data centre availability in each region, to help you optimise your strategy for responding to data residency requirements.

This tool is a powerful addition to your privacy toolkit, as privacy challenges and opportunities have never been more pronounced. In March 2020, when the world realised the threat of the pandemic, many believed that privacy would inexorably fall to the bottom of the list of priorities for companies and consumers alike. A year later, we know that didn’t happen. Consider that privacy budgets have grown, and in some cases doubled, in the course of 2020. Further growth is expected in the next 12 months. Why? Take a look at the trends below to discover what is top of mind for peers, fueling urgency in the ecosystem:

1. Companies collected and processed an unprecedented volume of sensitive, personal data. While the pandemic provided the legal basis for many of these activities, companies remain liable and responsible for protecting the sensitive, personal data they collect, process, store, and share.

Companies must ensure they follow a privacy-by-design approach when dealing with the sensitive data of their employees. Classic HR policies will not deliver the protection this data needs. Privacy, security, and risk professionals must review existing policies and remediate any gaps. A recent study we completed on a large sample of European employees highlighted that over 60% of European employees want their employers to delete the medical data they collected in response to the pandemic as soon as possible.

2. Digital engagement hinged on data. Digital engagement became the key engagement strategy while consumers were locked in their homes. Yet designing and delivering superior digital experiences hinged on businesses’ ability to collect and process consumer data, such as biometrics, financial data, and behavioural data. Ensuring that data is secure and collected, processed, and stored according to the expectations of regulators and consumers is paramount to determining the success of those digital initiatives.

Consumers are more likely to share their data and to spend more money with companies that they believe will keep their data safe. Our research also suggests that empowered consumers — those who are most likely to engage through digital channels and experiment with new technology — are particularly tuned into values and privacy. Companies must ensure that they follow best practices when it comes to protecting the personal data of their customers. Empirical evidence shows that — if done well — privacy not only delivers on compliance duties, but it also contributes to enriching the experiences we deliver to our customers.

3. Remote working created opportunities and risks. Remote work opened up new opportunities and created new risks. Employers now have access to a worldwide pool of talent. The physical location of a new employee is less important than her skills. However, regional privacy requirements, as well as labour rights, tax, and benefits laws, are different. Employers must prepare to deal with the increasing fragmentation stemming from regulatory divergence. Remote work also means that employers must design their employee engagement differently. Employees’ productivity, performance, collaboration, and proactivity are among the variables that employers want to capture. While their intention is to support their employees, some of the data collection and processing activities underpinning them pose significant privacy challenges and can destroy — not increase — employee trust.

Companies must prioritise their employee privacy initiatives. According to our research, we expect regulators around the world to multiply their enforcement actions against companies that undermine the privacy rights of their employees. Beyond that, employee trust and experience directly impact employee performance and the quality of the customer experience employees deliver. Companies must treat privacy as a strategic enabler of employee trust.

Start using Forrester’s Global Map of Privacy Rights And Regulation, 2021, and leverage Forrester’s privacy research to help you navigate and succeed in the ever-evolving privacy landscape. Schedule an inquiry with me if you want to discuss your privacy needs and opportunities and how to tackle them.