2020 wasn’t a comfortable year for business. Companies worldwide switched to remote working and had to adapt to the new (online) environment. With this transition came an increase in cybercrime issues and data breaches.
In the first half of 2020, data breaches exposed 36 billion records. And 58% of them involved the personal data of users. The number of phishing attacks went up too –one in every 4,200 emails was a scam.
Privacy Trends for Companies to Look Out for in 2021
Simultaneously, the companies that invested in privacy programs in 2020 say they observe certain profits, like operational efficiency or agility. 40% are seeing benefits at least twice that of their privacy spend.
With everything working online today, users’ privacy and security will become even more critical in 2021. Here are seven digital privacy trends companies should look out for in 2021:
Trend 1. The Year of Privacy Laws
General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, put into action in 2018, was one of the first and landmark laws focused on consumers’ digital privacy rights.
It obliged businesses that collect and use people’s data to report data breaches and gave users more rights to control the company’s information on them, e.g., to demand to delete their data (“the right to be forgotten”). California implemented a similar ruling (CCPA) in June 2020.
In 2021 India’s privacy orders will become law, and more countries will follow. According to Gartner, 65% of the world’s population will have their data covered under privacy laws by 2023.
Trend 2. App Tracking Policies Developed
Apple talked about introducing its App Tracking Transparency in 2020 but postponed it for 2021. It will require developers to ask user’s permission to share their data with third parties, which Apple defines as “tracking.” As of 2021, advertisers won’t be able to track users by default on iOS apps.
Google is also considering developing a similar App Tracking policy. Although, it may not be that hard on developers as Apple’s one.
Trend 3. There Will Be a Further Increase in Data Breaches
In 2020, there were 331 data breach notifications per day across Europe, a 19% increase since 2019. Researchers expect the number of data breaches to jump up even more in 2021. The insider threat will grow — Forrester predicts the share of data breaches caused by insiders will increase to 33% in 2021.
Today 45% of Americans are more worried about their online privacy than they were a year ago. To secure themselves from data breaches, in 2021 consumers will further adopt software that helps them protect their personal data.
For example, in 2020, Virtual Private Network (VPN) usage jumped by 27.1%, and this year the number of individuals that utilize VPNs will continue to grow.
Trend 4. Companies will Further Implement User Data Privacy Automation
GDPR gives users the right to ask a business to reveal all the data they gathered on them. And, if the user desires, the company will have to delete it wholly. To handle these requests, companies will introduce privacy automation features that’ll automatically collect, put together and present the data to the user.
Also, these features will delete all the data if needed. Companies might develop them themselves or look for outsourcing or B2B solutions.
In MacPaw, Setapp, and CleanMyMac teams developed their own data privacy automation features to manage privacy-focused inquiries. Firstly, a user has to contact our support with a demand to either present their data or fully delete it.
Then our engineers run a special script that automatically searches for all the information that can be associated with this user. After the script finds the data, it will either delete it or put it in a special portable document, which we’ll send to the user.
Trend 5. Cybersecurity Focus Due to Increased Cloud Adoption
McAfee’s study shows that enterprise adoption of cloud services spiked by 50% in 2020. At the same time, external attacks on cloud accounts increased by 630%. These attacks affected governments, manufacturing, and transportation the most. At the beginning of this year, specialists discovered malware that targeted Apple’s newest M1 processor.
In 2021 cybersecurity will become one of the main focuses of businesses, especially small and mid-size ones. Companies will want to enforce new instruments and practices to protect their remote workspaces.
For example, implement secure gateways to their cloud services by enabling access to them only with the company VPN. They will also introduce multi-factor authentication (MFA) if they haven’t already to avoid compromised employees’ credentials being used by hackers.
Although the practice is extremely popular among big IT businesses, less than a third of employees used this type of authentication in smaller companies in 2019.
MFA adds an additional layer (or layers) of security to validating employees’ identities. Today mobile push notifications are the most popular way of MFA. When an employee wants to access the inside resources, they’ll have to reply to a special notification from a company-authorized MFA app.
Trend 6. Companies will Adopt Zero-Trust Architecture
Usually, companies stored their data on on-premise servers, and any employee who was present in the office had access to them. The physical Security Perimeter protected the business. But with more employees working remotely, some as freelancers, and more valuable information being stored on the cloud, the protection of the physical Security Perimeter is doubtful, and many defense holes intruders can exploit appear. That’s when zero-trust architecture becomes beneficial.
The main idea of zero-trust architecture is to “Never Trust, Always Verify.” It’s not enough to know a login and password or just connect to the company’s VPN to gain access to the cloud or premise resources. No device, network, IP, or user is trusted by default, and to gain access to the workspace, all of them must prove their credibility.
To do it, companies can utilize pre-made enterprise software or build their own Single Sign-On (SSO) servers. MacPaw, for example, uses a centralized SSO solution to verify the identity of the team members.
Trend 7. Consumer Privacy to Become a Competitive Advantage
According to Cisco, 84% of users care about the privacy of their data. Over 50% of them would switch companies because of their data policies or data sharing practices. In 2021 businesses (especially those operating predominantly online) will need to acknowledge that their consumers care about privacy. If their users aren’t satisfied with how the company handles their data, they will go to competitors with better privacy policies.
At MacPaw, we care about our users’ data privacy and are committed to protecting it. When we develop our products and services, we make sure they comply with the standard privacy regulations and handle privacy-based requests expeditiously. In 2020 we launched ClearVPN — a new approach to VPN-based services for regular users.
Instead of baffling VPN users with a map of available servers, give them ready-to-use VPN solutions — shortcuts that focus on particular needs, like masking IP addresses or blocking malicious websites. The security and privacy of the users are is the most important priority — the app uses strong industry-grade encryption and maintains a strict no-log policy.
To Sum It Up
With the pandemic likely going to continue throughout 2021, businesses’ digitalization trend will grow, and so will the number of cybersecurity threats and data breaches. 2021 will be the year companies should progress on the privacy and security of their users’ data. Businesses that will look out for and implement the trends will guarantee themselves success and competitive advantage in the future.