Businesses Lack Adequate Data Privacy, Consent Tools

Nearly all the ForgeRock survey respondents believe individuals are becoming increasingly concerned about their personal data privacy.

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While the majority of IT professionals feel customer data privacy concerns are a critical issue at the C-level, only 9 percent of IT pros taking part in a recent ForgeRock survey believe current privacy and consent methods are adequate.

The survey, conducted by TechValidate, asked more than 300 IT pros in the United States and EMEA their thoughts on the role of data privacy and consent, according to the company.

Survey results show current security tools are not enough: Ninety-six percent of respondents agree there is an increasing need for dynamic and flexible privacy tools that are adaptable to future borderless regulatory requirements and consumer expectations.

"Consumers need to know that while current tools enable organizations to meet previous well-understood compliance requirements, these tools are clunky and take an all-in approach," Eve Maler, vice president of Innovation and Emerging Eechnology at ForgeRock, told an interview "With only 9 percent of IT professionals believing that current methods such as check boxes and cookie acknowledgements will be able to adapt to the needs of the emerging digital economy, it’s clear that the bar has been raised."

The survey study also revealed regional differences between U.S.-based and EMEA-based IT professionals in their opinions about data privacy.

While 85 percent of U.S. IT professionals believe that the United States eventually will adopt personal data protection regulations similar to those of Europe, European IT professionals were more skeptical, with only 66 percent agreeing their U.S. counterparts would implement such regulations.

"It’s possible to speculate that there is skepticism among Europeans for a variety of reasons—the U.S. has lagged in its adoption of comprehensive data protection regulations compared to Europe, the U.S. has a different basis for preserving privacy rights than does the EU, and cultural norms are different in the two regions," Maler said.

Nearly all (95 percent) of survey respondents said they felt individuals are becoming increasingly concerned about their personal data privacy and their ability to control, manage and share data about themselves online.

The same percentage said organizations want to build trust by enabling customers to consent to data sharing and to control who their personal data is shared with. They also agreed the ability to preserve and prove customer privacy builds loyalty for their brand.

"While the current approach focuses on coarse-grained options at an individual application level for the sake merely of business compliance, we expect the next generation of tools to include unified dashboards that can deliver users a more centralized view of their digital selves and the ability to control to whom, when and for how long their personal digital information is shared," Maler said.

The rapid growth of the Internet of things and the digital economy is posing enormous challenges to businesses and the public sector in terms of protecting personal data privacy and building trusted relationships.

Research firm Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.