Co-authored with Graham Thomas, Cognizant Global Head of Data Privacy.
Is privacy dropping off the corporate agenda? Even as regulations and legislation for data protection march on, an alarming number of privacy programs are being quietly pushed to the back burner.
A global assessment conducted by Informatica and Cognizant reveals that organizations are shrugging off privacy risks at the worst possible time – just as consumers are actively prioritizing trust and confidence.
From huge fines to the reputational damage inflicted by a major breach, the downside of getting privacy wrong is massive.
But there’s also huge upside for businesses that get it right.
A recent report from Cisco  found that more than 40 percent of companies are seeing benefits of at least twice their privacy spend. That ROI comes from increased operational efficiency, greater business agility, and the ability to innovate more quickly.
Establishing yourself as a reliable custodian of customer data has a vital reputational benefit. Consumers are five times more willing to permit use of their personal information — and will hand over more of it — to companies they trust. 
With the need to sustain customer loyalty and compliance both bearing down, businesses need to treat privacy protection as a core requirement rather than a single initiative or series of projects.
But making the journey isn’t straightforward. Regulatory regimes have complex requirements that aren’t addressable with simple checklists. And at the moment, there is no formal certification for wide-ranging regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Organizations have to self-determine their level of adherence with a clear understanding of their data exposure risk — alongside the value that personal data can unleash when used appropriately and transparently.
Informatica recommends this framework to help you operationalize data privacy controls:
The end goal is a mature privacy footing that’s sustainable and repeatable — which will be vital when new data protection regimes like CCPA start to be enforced.
By establishing governance best practices that deliver data trust and quality, organisations can move beyond reductive objectives like fine avoidance and address compliance as a target state, more a continuous journey rather than a single destination.
That will help put compliance risk in the rear-view mirror, accelerate value creation, and help businesses at the head of the curve leapfrog the competition.
 Cisco: 2020 Data Privacy Benchmark Study
 Boston Consulting Group: Bridging the Trust Gap in Personal Data