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Author's profile photo Carl Kehres

Data Privacy and Protection Series – Taking Care of Telecom’s Most Valuable Asset, Customer Trust

Part 5 of a 6-Part Series

Consumer markets increasingly favor a more digital world, where telecom products and services are smart, secure, and trustworthy. Yet, customers are not necessarily comfortable sharing their personal information – even if it is subject to a growing landscape of data privacy and protection regulations.

Telecoms%20Most%20Valuable%20Asset

Telecoms Most Valuable Asset

The concerns customers express are certainly justified. Headlines of telecom service providers being fined millions of dollars for data breaches and inadequate information protection serve as constant reminders of security breaches, cyberattacks, and unauthorized sharing that potentially expose personal data. According to EY research, such news leaves less than half of customers feeling they control their online personal data.

Fortunately, data privacy and protection laws – such as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – are giving compliant providers a good start in gaining customer trust. And the regulations are far from static, as evidenced by the recent ‘yes’ vote on the new California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA).

So while maintaining a compliance footprint is still critical, can companies still advance intelligent innovation at the same time?

The double edge of data management

In many ways, the current pandemic triggered a new debate on the reality of data collection, storage, and sharing. Governments are now relying on telecom data to assess where and how densely people gather, identify the source of community spread, and pinpoint communities adhering to mitigation guidance.

Although this information may be critical for the common good, the practice is igniting a debate on whether it is an overreach in social norms that value personal liberty and autonomy. And this argument is not limited to countries with strong data privacy and protection regulations. This debate is also happening in regions with few or no restrictions.

Suppose your communications company automated its ability to gain insight and act on data captured from millions of customers and employees. Required to comply with several data privacy and protection regulations, your business must have visibility on sensitive data spread across a broad landscape of mission-critical data sources – both on-premise and in the cloud.

Regardless of the markets served and your compliance track record, all business areas must fully recognize the depth of their data wealth, individually and collectively. This self-reflection requires a serious look at how you manage data across the enterprise — such as how data is acquired, centralized for enterprise-wide access, mapped to processes, and monetized as revenue.

Such an assessment can help you understand the full value of all your data, the risk it poses, and the potential for innovation that answers your customers’ needs. Plus, good data management practices can be established to strengthen compliance with evolving regulations and create a data strategy that unites all sources into a centralized, secure platform for authorized access to intelligence.

Now consider the possibilities of a solution that enables this groundwork to satisfy privacy regulations, while supporting innovation efforts that are equally compliant and desirable. Such a solution would allow you to:

  • Automate the discovery and inventorying of sensitive personal data and map its precise location across sources of structured and unstructured data
  • Fulfill validated access rights requests end-to-end and automatically to meet CCPA, GDPR, and other relevant requirements
  • Analyze the flow of every piece of data to determine how it moves from system to system – from the original source to every application it touches

These capabilities can ease the process of satisfying your customers’ right to be forgotten on demand. Enabling data privacy and protection software allows authorized employees to immediately identify the correct data record – even if the collection spanned multiple years and was stored in various data warehouses and data lakes.

A data mindset of interconnectedness and speed

As people grow more aware of how their personal data is accessed, used, and shared, telecom providers need to step up data privacy and protection efforts to remain competitive. Customers want proof that they can trust their communications service provider. Government bodies demand compliance with ever-tightening regulations to safeguard their constituents. All the while, providers must be flexible enough to monetize data in a way that is useful to everyone that generates and touches it.

These expectations may seem to be a tall order. But automating data privacy and protection processes can increase the transparency, tracking, and governance necessary to keep personal data secure and identify opportunities to expand your offerings. More importantly, your customers – existing and new – will appreciate the respect you demonstrate in managing their personal information with care.

Want to know how SAP can help? Learn about SAP Solution Extensions from BigID. 

Did you miss any of the blogs in our Data Privacy and Protection series? Read about the following topics we’ve covered so far: 

 

 

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