Data protection is increasingly becoming a board level issue, as the average consumer becomes more cognizant of how the data that organizations collect is being used and abused.

On an almost daily basis, a company or organization is being forced to reveal that their customers’ personal data was in some way compromised. Much of that data is sold on the Dark Web to cybercriminals looking to launch phishing attacks targeting specific individuals. Once they gain access to that individual’s credentials, it’s not long before those cybercriminals leverage that access to compromise untold numbers of applications and systems, as shown in the Mueller Report from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving the use of personal data made available by Facebook to spread propaganda, the general population is more aware of how their data is being abused. Many more of them are looking for assurances that the companies they do business with are responsible stewards of the data they collect.

A survey of U.S. consumers, published this week by Snowflake Computing, a provider of a Database-as-a-Service offering running on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud, finds that 71 percent are either not at all likely or very unlikely they would do business with a company that does not comply with data policy regulations. More significantly, 73 percent said more data policies are needed, a sentiment even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg now shares. In fact, both Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and SAP CEO Bill McDermott have all become strong advocates for increased data privacy.

Of course, all that increased awareness comes with increased expectations. The Snowflake computing survey finds 45 percent of respondents expect a company to be able to delete their entire digital identity in seconds. Another 24 percent said it should only take a few hours.

How can MSPs benefit from data privacy concerns?

Most managed service providers (MSPs) know that this is an expectation that hardly any company can meet today. As the board of directors of companies get more involved in these issues, just about all of them are going to discover how haphazardly data within those organizations is really managed. Once that realization is made, it’s now only a matter of time before there are mandates issued to clean up that mess.

Before too long, beleaguered IT leaders will be turning to MSPs to help implement more stringent data management policies. That effort will inevitably require everything from new data analytics tools to more sophisticated approach to managing backup, recovery, and archiving.

Not long ago, all that MSPs could do was dream about a day when data privacy concerns would put so much attention on how data is managed within organizations. Now that day is here, and MSPs should be focusing more of their efforts on educating board members about the level of investment required to satisfy those concerns. It won’t take very long for those board members to realize that data management is truly a job best left to the professionals.

Photo: Dan Bun / Shutterstock

Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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