What is a Privacy Center And Should You Have One?
What is a privacy center? Here’s your essential guide to privacy centers and everything you need to know about the new way businesses manage privacy to comply with the regulations and gain an advantage over their competitors.
Find out more about this new phenomenon and whether your business could benefit too.
Privacy policies have traditionally been the way to communicate privacy. But privacy centers are the new way to manage privacy. So, what is a privacy center?
Leading brands are turning to privacy centers to give them a boost with their customers.
Privacy Centers are the new way for businesses to comply with privacy regulations and build trust with their customers.
They are the new way to win customers, build loyalty and gain an advantage over competitors.
What is a Privacy Center?
Privacy centers bring all aspects of privacy into one online portal so that everything to do with privacy is all in one place.
They are designed to be simple to navigate and easy to read so that customers can fully understand them and have confidence in the organisation.
This focussed approach to privacy delivers powerful advantages for the business and is beneficial for their customers too. It’s a win-win.
Businesses gain increased trust from their customers and staff by clarifying how the organization manages personal data.
Businesses also gain significant operational benefits.
Privacy documentation has historically been scattered throughout different policies and notices, making it difficult for the business to manage and update.
When all aspects of privacy are presented in one place, it is simpler for businesses to manage privacy compliance documentation.
It’s also easier to manage data subject access requests (DSARs).
Privacy centres make it easier for visitors to find the information they want, make it easy to understand and help to build trust in the brand.
Until recently, most businesses have relied on privacy policies, cookie policies, and terms and conditions of business to set out how they manage their customers’ privacy.
Some organizations use even more documents.
This traditional way has worked well from a legal perspective, but it doesn’t work for customers.
Disjointed policies are difficult to understand and give the customer a limited choice of options:
First option: If they are interested enough and sufficiently concerned about their privacy, then they can read the small print and decide whether to share their information or not.
Second option: They grudgingly accept that they will never understand the legalese and part with their personal data anyway in the hope that they will not regret it.
Third option: Even worse, they choose not to do business with that brand and choose to do business with a more trusted brand.
From a user perspective, you can understand their feelings.
Their life is being made difficult, and so they naturally suspect that the company is not being open and honest about what they will do with their data.
Whichever option they choose, the visitor is not happy.
And if the visitor chooses not to share their data or only partially shares it, then it’s not good for the business either.
The challenge for businesses is that consumers are getting savvy to privacy. The research confirms it.
There had to be a better way to manage privacy, and now there is.
Welcome to the world of privacy centers.
Be More Trusted – Do More Business
Usually, it’s high profile brands that understand the importance of being trusted.
They know the power of being a trusted brand, and more importantly, they know how difficult it is to do business when confidence in their brand has been damaged.
If a business is not trusted, it is far more difficult to persuade people to give their data. The more sensitive the data, the more difficult it becomes.
It’s relatively straightforward for a business to build trust with their audience if they are willing to be open and transparent about the data they collect and how they will use it.
The challenge is that privacy policies are anything but open and transparent.
They are usually written in legalese and presented in small print to make them difficult to read.
This traditional approach to privacy is no longer suitable for a world that values individuals’ privacy and holds out integrity as a critical value of the businesses and brands we want to do business with.
By adopting an open and transparent approach to privacy, a business can be more trusted as an organization.
Privacy centers are evolving to fill the role of privacy policies.
They can be very varied in their design but their objective is the same.
To gain more customers and access to more personal data by making privacy simple to understand which in turn increases buyer confidence in the brand.
Who Uses Privacy Centres?
Privacy centers are becoming increasingly popular with high profile brands.
Here are some examples of big brands using privacy centers:
Is a privacy center right for you?
It’s clear that the biggest brands in the world are moving to privacy centers but does that mean everyone should?
Big brands are big because people trust them… because they are big. Brand building is critical to these big businesses because they must look big to give people confidence that they can be trusted.
They understand the value of trust.
If your business uses personal information then it’s very likely that you also rely on being trusted. Only it’s a lot harder when you are a smaller business.
What Should You Include in a Privacy Center
To fulfil their function, privacy centres should include all aspects of privacy that need to be communicated to people.
A privacy centre should aim to provide the reader with sufficient information to be compliant and give total confidence that the organisation will manage their data responsibly and with integrity.
Privacy centres don’t do away with privacy policies, but they do put them into context.
Privacy centres can include:
- Privacy FAQs
- Contact details for privacy issues
- Statement of rights and requests
- A statement of privacy principles
- Details of the regulations, GDPR and CCPA etc
- Glossary of privacy terms
- Privacy controls
- Subject Access Request forms
- Consent choices
- Data security assurances
The choice of content should reflect the complexity of the organization processing the data.
Above all, the information communicated must ensure the organisation is compliant with the regulations.
The privacy centre should also include sufficient further information to inform individuals about their privacy but not overwhelm them with detail.
It is not a legal requirement to have a privacy center but it is a requirement to communicate how your organization handles personal information.
What the regulations do demand is that privacy is communicated clearly and transparently to individuals.
Privacy centres are a more effective way of communicating the legal position about privacy.
The big difference between privacy policies and privacy centers is that privacy has become massively more complex.
There is now so much more information to communicate that privacy policies can no longer do the job effectively.
Businesses have responded by writing longer privacy policies and adding more details and documents until we are now at a point of evolution when privacy policies are overwhelming.
They are more confusing than helpful. They no longer clarify essential privacy statements.