Over the next 18 months, Canadian businesses can expect to see changes in Canada’s privacy laws. In particular, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada will likely be granted more enforcement powers. The government sees compliance enforcement as incentive to business to build trust in the digital economy, but there are more compelling business reasons to consider a robust approach to privacy. Building trust to protect brand value, securing assets from theft or exploitation, using trust as a differentiator and to encourage investment are important elements of a privacy strategy.
The digital economy has enabled companies to exploit value from and monetize behavioral data. These products and processes combined with the growth of brand value are seemingly created from nothing – capital without capital. They are the basis of the intangible economy, where sweat equity and ingenuity are the asset. In some industries, intangible assets account for as much as 85% of the company’s value and brand value accounts for as much as 30% of a company’s overall value.
An emphasis on protecting privacy helps to foster trust which ultimately protects a brand’s value. The two pillars of building and maintaining trust are taking an ethical approach to the use of personal information and having a robust digital security regime that actively engages the most up to date tools and processes to avoid the perils of a cyber-breach. Recognizing the value of privacy and security as a core component of a growth strategy will also help compliance take care of itself.