In today digital economy, where data is the new currency, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of adequate regulations to guide all activities around its collection, recording, organization, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction. Nigeria must join the league of white list countries with requisite Data Regulations, in line with global best practices:
- It ensures the security and safety of Nigerians’ personal data by providing reasonable principles guiding data processing.
- It prevents any possible breach of personal data and data manipulation to the detriment of the data subject.
- It bestows upon Nigerians, the rights to withhold or not to withhold consents when it comes to giving out their information on personal data for processing.
- It gives Nigerian businesses a competitive edge in international trade over other countries without a Data Protection Regulation, or any form of Act, created to provide security on a company, or an individual’s information.
- The NDPR is in tune with global best practices, which is splendid for the country’s image.
The presence of data protection regulation is globally recognized as an indication for trust in a country’s digitally driven business space. Data protection practices amongst other concerns, have quickly become a topic for organizational risk management and now forms part of negotiation talks between companies in different geographical locations and jurisdictions looking to do business with one another. This has therefore made it imperative that organizations seeking to do business online, consider incorporating privacy protection practices in their marketing and operational strategy.
As a marketing strategy, digitally driven businesses are utilizing the World Wide Web (the internet) as a business development tool, which helps them easily connect with potential and existing consumers to better understand their needs. Companies with consumer focus at the core of their business strategy are continually applying ingenuous practices to accumulate data on consumers and/or their activities, the aim being to gather customer data to create competitive market advantage. Data protection compliance therefore requires that all such consumer data must have been collected with the lawful consent of the consumers and stored securely to ensure the integrity of the data/information is not undermined or exposed to risk.
Data protection should also form part of a company’s internal Human Resource Management Strategy, as an organization is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring complete privacy of employee records which are stored as electronic data. As an employer, transparency and discretion is required in dealing with employees’ personal data, within and outside the organization. Employers must be accountable for data processing activities while also complying with data protection principles. The NDPR regulations advises businesses who gather such data to invest in the training and sensitization of employees on their rights under the regulation as well as their duties and obligations towards such information they may have access to in the course of carrying out their responsibilities.
The pace of business in today’s digital economy and the complexity of the cyberthreat and regulatory landscapes mean that sustained cross-functional collaboration is very essential to deliver what is now table stakes to attract and retain customers – Digital Trust.
Digital Trust is “the confidence in the integrity of relations, interactions and transactions among providers and consumers within an associated digital ecosystem.” This is a central imperative in today’s digital economy since, without trusting an organization’s products, services, or commerce platforms, customers will take their business elsewhere. As such, driving toward digital trust is truly a company-wide effort, which must cut across security, privacy, risk, assurance, governance, IT, legal, quality, Human Resources and Marketing teams, all have roles to play.
This requires the Enterprise Leaders to set the tone by emphasizing digital trust as an enterprise-wide priority. Alco, in view of the fact that lack of alignment of digital trust and enterprise goals and lack of leadership buy-in are the biggest obstacles in the way of achieving digital trust. It’s up to C-Suite leaders to remove these obstacles and better position their businesses to earn their customers’ trust.