Security is an ever-evolving concept, just like the concept of identity we wrote about in a previous blog post. One day you’re thinking the best approach to making sure your users not only feel, but also are safe is perfectly fine. Then suddenly it all changes. Boom. You’re losing your edge. In a tech world filled with a staggering amount of apps, ready to be gobbled by hungry consumers, security is a fickle mistress. You need to be more efficient. You need to be more global. You need to be more.
This is where Privacy by Design comes in – an approach delivering the tightest security possible and getting you to the more point.
Wait… what exactly is Privacy by Design?
Privacy by Design is a security principle created by widely revered security expert Dr. Ann Cavoukian. Put simply, it means that a piece of software is made from the grounds up with the thought of consumers’ security. Picture yourself a delicious layer cake. What many software companies do is first prepare the cake and then put users’ security and all things privacy related as a frosting on top of it.
What Privacy by Design rightfully aims to do, though, is to implement security on every single layer. You start with the absolute bottom of the cake, and then, as each layer gets finished, you perform security checks. Thus, the consumer privacy is tested all throughout the engineering process and – unsurprisingly, is way more secure than having just the frosting.
Principles 101: here’s why Privacy by Design is so effective
The brainchild of Dr. Cavoukian doesn’t float around without any guidelines, though. Privacy by Design follows seven very important principles that constitute its body as a security approach every company should follow. These are, namely:
- Proactive not reactive; preventative not remedial – the principle anticipates events that compromise data security and privacy and comes up with the appropriate preventative measures. As Dr. Cavoukian puts it, “Privacy by Design comes before-the-fact, not after.”
- Privacy as the default setting – many companies provide users with complicated, confusing settings to configure their security. To Privacy by Design, privacy protection should be built in the system to the fullest, without requiring any tinkering from users. In other words, full privacy should be the default to minimize security risks.
- Privacy embedded into design – Privacy by Design insists on security being embedded as a core both into the architecture and design of any IT system or enterprise practices. In no way should it be left “after that” or even worse – as a last minute add-on solution. It should be integral to any system, sitting right at its heart.
- Full functionality – Positive-sum, not zero-sum – Many businesses view achieving privacy and security as a “trade-off” that might decrease other operations’ productivity or even worse – revenue. Privacy by Design insists on a positive-sum equation and uncovers that enterprises can actually accommodate privacy and security without lagging behind on other fronts. Put simply, a “win-win” situation, instead of a zero-sum mentality.
- End-to-end security – full lifecycle protection – Data should be protected throughout all stages of its lifetime. From data collection to its utilizing, until the very end of its deletion, privacy safeguards and top-notch encryption should take care of its impenetrability. Even a single moment of carelessness can compromise the whole lifecycle of any information.
- Visibility and transparency – keep it open – Consumers should be fully in the know of their privacy, security and politics towards their personal information at any given time. Promises and objectives should be clearly stated, with all lines of responsibilities laid down and transparent to everyone involved.
- Respect for user privacy – keep it user-centric – It all revolves around the user and their safeguarding, says Privacy by Design. It’s exactly users who own the data, so security providers should give them undisputed priority in controlling their information. The user should be the only one who can grant data permissions or revoke them. Privacy settings should be maximally user-friendly to allow for smooth, easy to conduct data control.
Living up to the oh-so-dreaded compliance struggle
Over the past 2 or 3 years, the EU has been especially stern on passing stricter data privacy laws. In fact, just a few days ago the European Parliament adopted twice the stricter and tougher European Privacy Regulation bill. Businesses operating in the EU will need to be fully compliant with this and all other upcoming regulations if they don’t want to receive financial repercussions (currently at the level of 4% of the annual worldwide turnover).
Last year, Karsten Kinast from German analyst company Kuppinger Cole noted that to comply with the new EU Privacy laws, Privacy by Design will play an increased role for any company that produces software “Privacy by design will help companies realise that they need more identity and access management as well as an appropriate security strategy.” Governments want to send companies a simple message: stick to Privacy by Design, collect the minimum amount of user data with users’ explicit consent and get your best privacy/security tactics out there. Otherwise you’re in for some trouble.
Things get twice the heated once you take into account the aspirations towards making the EU-US Privacy Shield a real thing. Regulating transatlantic flows of data, it will have in stock quite a few (and quite the strict) obligations on US-based companies handling the personal data of EU citizens.
No doubt about it, things are looking more than stern. The good news is, Privacy by Design helps you avoid getting your feet wet in the regulatory trouble department. Speaking of regulatory compliance, we have compiled an in-depth white paper that dives into the topic and prepares your business for a successful regulatory journey. You can download it for free and forget about any compliance worries.
Helping you roll with the punches: how we satisfy the Privacy by Design principles
Both our data encryption solution SmartCryptor and our single sign-on/identity & access management tool SmartSignIn follow the Privacy by Design approach. They are built with security and privacy in mind from the ground up. We went through a lengthy process of reflecting on what would be the best way to ensure your safety. To add to this, we thought on how exactly to a) make all things privacy related easier for you as a user and b) to ensure your company will be in full compliance with upcoming security laws and regulations.
A few examples of us satisfying the principles of Privacy by Design are:
- User compartmentalization and convenient group-based access control (SmartSignin)
- Complete control of the data lifecycle with end-to-end encryption and zero storing of your data’s encryption keys anywhere (SmartCryptor)
- Audit logs for regulatory compliance, centralized monitoring and transparency throughout the whole security infrastructure (SmartCryptor & SmartSignin)
- Absolute client-side key management with only customers controlling the decryption and handling of their data (SmartCryptor)
- Strong authentication throughout all layers of security with no reverse-engineering possible (SmartCryptor & SmartSignin)
You can check how it feels to be completely secure and protected by all the principles of Privacy by Design by giving our free 30-day trial a go. With security breaches creeping on businesses more than ever and strict regulatory compliance just around the corner, our software tools give you the much needed peace of mind. We’ve settled it all – so you can just take care of running your enterprise.