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The year 2020 was like no year any of us had ever experienced, and in many parts of the world, 2021 is giving last year a run for notoriety. No matter how gloomy, the past year did not slow companies from embracing and executing on their privacy initiatives. In fact, amidst a growing list of threats, large enterprises have rallied to reinforce their privacy competence, according to new report from privacy compliance technology company TrustArc. An increased number of enterprises have created formal Privacy Offices this last year, up a full 17 percentage points over 2020, from 67% to 83%, TrustArc found in its annual Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey. Notably, 44% of the respondents spend anywhere from “most” to “all of their time” on privacy initiatives, TrustArc said.

More enterprises now have privacy offices.

Above: The chart depicts the increased number of enterprises that have created formal Privacy Offices this last year.

Image Credit: TrustArc

TrustArc’s annual Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey 2021 explores the global challenges to data privacy management for medium to large sized companies, including the impact of the global pandemic, widespread adoption of AI-driven technologies, and compliance with new regulatory requirements.

With a growing list of evolving privacy regulations around the globe, along with privacy challenges such as an unprecedented number of people working remotely, enterprises stepped up their privacy management by having more dedicated privacy teams (up from 67% in 2020 to 83% in 2021) and using purpose-built privacy software solutions (up from 20% in 2020 to 27% in 2021). Having a team in place makes getting the overall privacy job done possible. Companies that have fully implemented a strategic and reportable privacy program management program averaged 84% on our TrustArc Global Privacy Index.

Despite notable improvements in the Privacy Index and in key privacy measures, 73% of respondents believe their companies can do more. Perhaps surprisingly, this push to do more is the hallmark of privacy leaders. The TrustArc Global Privacy Index score among those who “strongly agree” that their company should do more stood out at 83%, well above the median score of 70% across all those polled. Additionally, when presented with thirteen separate challenges related to privacy that proverbially can keep someone up at night worried about their business, cybersecurity stood out above the rest. Increasing security risks are a key factor in privacy prioritization: cybersecurity risks from third parties or attackers are a top privacy concern for leaders, with 51% highlighting it as their top challenge for 2021. Relatedly, 34% claim their company has suffered a data breach over the last three years.


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TrustArc commissioned Golfdale Consulting to conduct the TrustArc Global Benchmarks Survey that included 1,630 respondents from primarily $500M+ size companies with head offices in the U.S., Europe and the U.K. and operations well distributed globally.

Read the full TrustArc Global Privacy Benchmarks Survey 2021.

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