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Recent trends in data protection and what they mean for your messenger app

Anna S.
21 Jun 2022
data protection trends

With an increasing amount of data, both personal and corporate, being stored and processed digitally, its security and protection become a focal point for businesses, organizations, and private persons. Data security concerns everyone, which is sadly proven by multiple massive leaks that made the headlines in recent years.

Therefore, data protection is one of the major challenges for any business handling user information. Messaging services processing large volumes of user data are also subject to data privacy and security requirements and seek to implement the most advanced protection measures.

Global data privacy trends indicate that the attention to it is going to intensify and the punishment for violations may be even more severe than today. Let’s see the impact these trends may have on messenger apps and services.

Strengthening of data protection regulations

Data privacy and security has been regulated at both national and international levels for quite some time. The European Union introduced the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to ensure data privacy for EU residents. Individual countries have various general or industry-specific data protection laws and rules, too. For example, the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets the requirements for health-related information in the USA.

However, the situation is changing fast, and the trend is toward the increase of data privacy regulations. The introduction of GDPR caused many countries to adopt similar laws to ensure the same levels of information security. Multiple similar moves are expected in the future. In fact, 65% of the global personal data is expected to be covered by some sort of regulation by 2023.

New Standard Contractual Clauses

The GDPR prescribes Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC) regulating data transfer between the EU and counties outside it. As of September 27, 2021, all data processing contracts must be concluded using new SCCs regulating the transfer of personal data to third countries. The new SCCs require that contractors ensure that third parties also sign them to guarantee that the rights of EU users are protected.

US states passing data protection laws

Individual US states adopt legislation protecting personal data. A number of states have already passed laws regulating data privacy, which may start a much wider adoption of similar acts in other states.

Data protection regulations in the Middle East

In 2021, two significant Middle East players, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, adopted their first data protection regulations. In Saudi Arabia, the new law requires data controller registration, limits data transfer outside the country, and establishes consent as the legal basis for data processing.
A similar law setting requirements to data controllers and processors was implemented in the UAE.

Third-party risk management

Working with third-party vendors can present serious security concerns. In fact, more than a half of businesses had a data breach caused by third parties. As a result, confidential information was compromised. Therefore, anyone processing and handling data should be careful in selecting their service providers to ensure sufficient data protection.

In messaging, there may be multiple cases when third-party services become necessary. A messaging app can integrate with payment gateways, email clients, social media, and so on. To ensure protection of personal data, messaging solutions must comply with the regulations governing data processing by third parties.

At the same time, businesses providing communication services must take their own measures to reduce third-party risk, such as:

  • Assess service vendors for compliance with the industry standards of data security and privacy.
  • Enter into the required contract with third-party vendors to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Conduct regular audits of both own and third-party infrastructure and policies.

Data-Protection-as-a-Service

With data security quickly turning into a core feature of any software product, the market developed a new sector, which renders data protection as a service to other businesses. The size of this market grows quickly and is expected to reach more than $170 billion by 2030.

DPaaS providers take care of the main functions protecting data:

  • Backup creating copies of essential data and storing them securely. Such copies allow restoring data after a disaster.
  • Disaster recovery allowing businesses to restore not only the data but also the infrastructure and to return to normal business operation within the shortest time.
  • Storage hosting copies of the most critical data files in a secure location accessible from multiple devices.

Businesses use the services of DPaaS vendors to ensure both the security of the data they process and manage and the compliance with the applicable regulations.

Transparency in data protection

Transparency is one of the requirements of GDPR demanding that users understand how their personal data is being processed. The regulations specify that businesses must communicate their data management policies in a clear and accessible manner.

Transparency builds trust, which is one of the key factors of customer loyalty. 40% of customers abandoned their favorite brands when they could no longer trust them. Therefore, businesses seek to make their data processing rules and policies clear and transparent to ensure both the regulatory compliance and customers’ trust and loyalty.

Takeaways for messaging apps

Messaging services are but a small group within a large number of businesses that handle and process personal data. As such, they are subject to all the applicable regulations and must follow their updates closely to remain compliant always. Recent events, such as WhatsApp’s fine for GDPR violation, show that neglecting compliance can get you in major trouble.

The same concerns third-party integrations which require careful assessment and evaluation. In addition, businesses that engage messaging services as third-party vendors must also ensure that the messenger they choose has taken all the required security measures.

Find out more about: 10 Most Secure Messaging Apps -Chat App Features & Detailed Comparison

A good practice may be to integrate a messenger solution that can guarantee the required regulatory compliance as well as provide the necessary data protection services, such as backup, disaster recovery, and secure storage. This way, there is no need to engage an additional DPaaS provider.

To sum it up, data protection and security is a matter of concern for users, businesses, and government authorities. Implementing strong and reliable security measures may seem a challenging task. However, when done right, proper data protection will pay you back in positive business reputation, customer trust and loyalty and, ultimately, higher revenues.

Want to find our more about secure messaging solutions? Chat with us at QuickBlox.

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