What is Data Privacy & Why Should You Care About It?

In a connected, data-driven world, the ease with which information can be shared, communicated, and collaborated on is taken for granted. With the exponential rise of data sharing platforms and communication hubs making it simple for consumers, the concern around data privacy has grown too.

If you rely on communication platforms as a business user, knowing the risks of using commercial, consumer-driven apps and platforms is important. At RealTyme, we believe businesses should be using platforms that have data privacy built-in by design, delivering on their promise.

Unfortunately for many, the assumption is their data is safe and online privacy is maintained by the servers and platforms they use. But what is data privacy, how private is your data, and why should users care more about it?

What is Data Privacy by Design?

Firstly, data privacy refers to the proper handling of data in line with compliance and any data protection policies and regulations. Everything from how data is collected and stored, to data sharing and the management of this by a third party is vital. For businesses, very sensitive data held on employees as well as customers or clients need to be managed correctly. Known as personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI), this can constitute a huge amount of data you would want to keep private. Along with this, information regarding your business and how it operates should remain private too.

The risks of any of this data being breached or accessed by non-authorised parties can result in hefty fines and a damaged reputation. According to Gov.UK, 39% of businesses reported having a cyber security breach or attack in the 12 months up to March 2021, of which 21% ended up losing money, data or other assets.  

Using platforms that have data protection by design and by default is crucial, and it is a legal requirement in both EU and UK GDPR. It ensures that data protection is not an afterthought and is part of development from the ground up. At RealTyme, our platform has always taken this approach and puts your data privacy first with no compromises, ensuring data sovereignty.

Is Your Data as Private as You Think?

When using any third-party application or platform, you should be able to trust they are following data privacy laws and compliance correctly. Here are some of the practices and risks that can leave your data exposed.

  • Data-Driven Business Models

Whilst it is extremely popular to use free consumer apps, the collection of data will be high and can sometimes be used for ulterior motives. This can also be true of numerous paid enterprise apps too if used for business. Data is collected, harvested, and analysed and can even be shared with other third parties, but why? Often, it is for monetization purposes (as seen with Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp etc.) and sometimes it’s for internal use to improve data-driven insights that help to change processes and how their platform or app performs. The latter is common with big tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google.

Whatever the reason for a data-driven business model, it is there to support business interests and not the users’ privacy as a priority. This means any activity, communication and connections made by users are used for other reasons by the company. At RealTyme, at no point do we collect, analyse, sell, or monetize users’ data. Using our platform provides private collaboration between connected, authorised users at all times, with data privacy at its core.

  • Open Platforms

With exponential growth rapidly deployed, the majority of communication apps are built with gaining users as its priority. From the moment many apps and platforms are released, the focus is on helping users connect quickly and start using their service. This, however, means privacy is not always at the forefront of development and instead is side-stepped by providing users with distinctive features and ways to communicate. One of the features of many of these types of free and paid platforms is the ability to sync data and contacts automatically. On the one hand, this allows the user convenience, however, their contact list and any data relating to it will now be shared with a third party, mirroring their previously private list.

This focus on rapid growth means users are able to connect quickly with others just by using a phone number, such as when using the GSM network or apps like WhatsApp. To protect your privacy, at RealTyme we never automatically sync your personal address book and contacts. Users can build their own private circles of contacts to enable closed circle communication at all times.

  • A Lack of Control

Many consumer apps and platforms lack the features needed to put your privacy in your own hands. Data is an invaluable asset both in a private and professional context, so allowing third parties access with limited control is a risk. Both consumer and enterprise platforms are increasingly SaaS-based, and many operate through third parties. This means a user has a lack of visibility and control over their data once signed up. Most people assume their data is protected without really knowing where their data is stored and how it is used once shared. This assumption can leave users at risk whilst their data footprint is increasing in many different uncontrolled environments. Synchronising data automatically through Edge devices also provide an opportunity for data to enter more third-party systems and multiply further.

To counter this lack of control for users, at RealTyme we are a data minimal company meaning our platform reduces the amount of data that resides on the server. This helps our users take back control of their data and even define the lifetime of the data used inside applications. This continuously reduces a user’s overall data footprint and allows for various deployment options for organizations. Within the application, RealTyme users can adjust numerous privacy settings, while an organization’s IT department can enforce security policies on the applications through the management console. This can be adjusted for specific privacy needs too, such as:

Having full control over data is effortless when using the RealTyme platform.

Why we Take Data Privacy Seriously at RealTyme

Data privacy is a right and data protection laws are in place to ensure this happens. However, not all companies will provide data privacy by design and will have ulterior motives for using your data. At RealTyme, users can work securely and collaborate privately with no compromise using our platfrom. Features include encrypted messaging to secure video conferencing and powerful data management controls. Organizations can ensure total data privacy and avoid falling victim to data breaches from unscrupulous parties using RealTyme.

To learn more about the RealTyme platform and how it can secure your data, request an invite or speak to sales.