Data Privacy Trends 2021

Data Privacy Trends To Expect In 2021

In 2020, organizations faced some of the most drastic challenges to a business environment in the digital age. Companies were forced to quickly adapt, cultivate resiliency and creativity, beside focusing on meeting their customers’ expectations.

According to a study conducted by Gartner, just 12% of more than 1,500 respondents believe their businesses were prepared to face the disruption last year, but with tech adoption accelerating as a result, more businesses will turn to digital operations, products, and ecosystems to stay profitable and relevant.

Data privacy has become the #1 expectation for every consumer across the globe, growing into something more than a set of rules and regulations driven by compliance standards, but rather one of the main pillars of brand recognition and customer loyalty.

With digital adoption, more and more sensitive customer and business data are being generated, as a result, so the ramifications for data privacy can only rise.

The Context

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on data privacy and cybersecurity mainly because of the social distancing that has changed both our personal and professional lives.

One of the consequences of this pandemic was that more and more consumers opted out of in-person shopping, relying heavily on the digital marketplace. So, organizations will have everything to gain by ensuring proper data protection to maintain customer loyalty.

Nowadays, more healthcare data is being collected than before, in many cases by organizations who never have previously collected this type of information. Organizations are collecting health data to support public health outcomes, causing growing concerns in how this data is being used and hold.

More Privacy Laws

Most websites these days, and this is one of the first things you are likely to see when loading a website, will notify you about data cookies, aspects like how the website is collecting your data, what it intends to do with it, for how long your data is hold, etc. Also, you are given the option to accept or reject these data usage terms.

Those terms are a direct consequence of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which although drafted in the European Union, it imposes obligations to every organization in case it targets or collects data from people residing in EU countries.

So, expect far-reaching data privacy legislation like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to come into force in more regions this year, responding to an ever-greater need of privacy protection.

Gartner data suggests that by 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have their personal data covered under some form of modern privacy regulation, up from 10% in 2020.

Data Privacy Automation

With new privacy laws coming into force, different legislation, and compliance procedures in different territories, will make it difficult for companies to keep track of which laws they must adhere to.

This has led developers to create software to automate data privacy. These can range from management platforms to handle privacy requests to filters and preference settings tools.

In 2021, we can only expect the trend of data privacy automation to become more widespread, with more software solutions being developed and more organizations purchasing automated data privacy and management solutions.

Better User Awareness

Cyber hygiene advocates have repeatedly highlighted how end users are often the weakest link in the chain allowing, either by accident or with intent, data security breaches at their organizations. This has further aggravated in 2020 as employees became familiar with the work-from-home processes.

Notorious cyberattacks such as the ones against SolarWinds and FireEye, also the Cambridge Analytica – Facebook scandal have brought the issue of data privacy to the public’s attention on a scale that has not been seen before.

Users are now actively concerned about how their data is being captured, how it is used and have even shown that they are willing to leave extremely popular platforms like WhatsApp if they feel their data is not safe.

Such data awareness is good for the user, but it could be bad for some organizations that are not transparent about which third parties are able to access sensitive data or refuse to give clients full control over what cookies they can enable.

Users are constantly discovering how much information is collected about them (spending habits, IPs, usernames, emails, etc.) how that data is used, and how cyberattacks put that information at risk.

More Data Security & Privacy Jobs

With the long-term changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, along with new data privacy regulations, organizations will probably face several security challenges, driving the demand for cybersecurity talent even more.

The pandemic has changed the workplace, forcing companies to quickly adapt. The rush to support a remote workforce has led many organizations to take a leap of faith into the cloud and are now facing new security challenges having to support hybrid work environments.


While not all organizations are required to comply to certain data protection standards such as HIPAA, or data privacy laws like the CCPA, they should still follow data protection competencies as it is essential for them to build and maintain an environment of trust.