Forrester Consulting has evaluated the state of enterprises’ data privacy compliance in a shifting regulatory landscape. Through a survey of 218 global enterprise decision makers with responsibility over privacy or data protection, they sought to understand how they are evolving to meet the heightened data protection and privacy expectations of legislators and consumers and the benefits they can expect from a holistic data privacy approach.

They found that Privacy is a strategic priority for today’s organizations, but few have complete confidence in their ongoing ability to keep up with emerging data privacy regulations.

…only 28% say they have confidence

82% of the respondents claim that their customers expect transparency and control over their personal data, but only 28% say they have confidence in their organization’s ongoing ability to achieve that.

Only a third of has started looking at automated solutions, and consequently, 69% are actively looking for partners that can give them access to tools that automate manual privacy processes.

Surprisingly, the strongest driver for the privacy projects is not the elimination of potential fines, but rather competitive advantages in the marketplace, where enhanced customer trust (41%) is considered the strongest driver, followed by improved customer retention (36%) and revenue growth (35%).

It is noteworthy that the survey was conducted in the summer of 2019, prior to the German fines against Deutsche Wohnen and others, clarifying that legacy data, specifically unstructured data, also is covered by the privacy-by-design principle.

Data storage is considered processing under the GDPR, and not being able to display a comprehensive and updated documentation of all personal data in historical files, emails etc is considered a “blatant infringement of the principles of data protection”, putting non-compliant organizations for the risk of the maximum fine.

In the light of this clarification, and the extreme amount of manual labor needed to perform a privacy data inventory, it is likely that automated tools would be considered even more important if the survey would be conducted today.

Access the full survey here