Forget Third-party Datasets – the Future is Data Partnerships that Balance Compliance and Analytical Value

by | Oct 8, 2019 | CN-Protect, Data privacy, Data Privacy Solutions, Data Privacy Technology, Privacy blog

Organizations are constantly gathering information from their customers. However, they are always driven to acquire extra data on top of this. Why? Because more data equals better insights into customers, and better ability to identify potential leads and cross-sell products. Historically, to acquire more data, organizations would purchase third-party datasets. Though these come with unique problems, such as occasionally poor data quality, the benefits used to outweigh the problems. 

But not anymore. Unfortunately for organizations, since the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), buying third-party data has become extremely risky. 

GDPR has changed the way in which data is used and managed, by requiring customer consent in all scenarios other than those in which the intended use falls under a legitimate business interest. Since third-party data is acquired by the aggregator from other sources, in most cases, the aggregators don’t have the required consent from the customers. This puts any third-party data purchaser in a non-compliant situation that could expose them to fines, reputational damage, and additional overhead compliance costs.

If organizations can no longer rely on third-party data, how can they maximize the value of the data they already have? 

By changing their focus. 

The importance of data partnerships and second-party data

Instead of acquiring third-party data, organizations should establish data partnerships and access second-party data. This new approach has two main advantages. One, second-party constitutes the first-party data of another organization, so it is of high quality. Two, there are no concerns about customer consent, as the organization who owns this data has direct consent from the customer. 

That said, to establish a successful data partnership, there are three things that have to be taken into consideration: privacy protection, IP protection, and data analytical value.   

Privacy Protection

Even when customer consent is present, the data that is going to be shared should be privacy-protected in order to comply with GDPR, safeguard customer information, and prevent any risk. Privacy protection should be understood as a reduction in the probability of re-identifying a specific individual in a dataset. GDPR, as well as other privacy regulations, refer to anonymization as the maximum level of privacy protection, wherein an individual can no longer be re-identified. 

Privacy protection can be achieved with different techniques. Common approaches include  differential privacy, encryption, the adding of “noise,” and suppression. Regardless of which privacy technique is applied, it is important to always measure the risk of re-identification of the data.

IP (Intellectual Property) Protection

There are some organizations that are okay with selling their data. However, there are others that are very reticent, because they understand that once the data is sold, all of its value and IP is lost, since they can’t control it anymore. IP control is a big barrier when trying to establish data partnerships. 

Fortunately, there is a way to establish data partnerships and ensure that IP remains protected.

Recent advances in cryptographic techniques have made it possible to collaborate with data partners and extract insights without having to expose the raw data. The first of these techniques is called Secure Multiparty Computation.

As its name implies, with Secure Multiparty Computation, multiple parties can perform computations on their datasets as if they were collocated but without revealing any of the original data to any of the parties. The second technique is Fully Homomorphic Encryption. With this technique, data is encrypted in a way in which computations can be performed without the need for decrypting the data. 

Because the original raw data is never exposed across partners, both of these advanced techniques allow organizations to augment their data, extract insights and protect IP safely and securely.

Analytical Value

The objective of any data partnership is to acquire more insights into customers and prospects. For this reason, any additional data that is acquired needs to add analytical value. But maintaining this value becomes difficult when organizations need to preserve privacy and IP protection. 

Fortunately, there is a solution. Firstly, organizations should identify common individuals in both datasets. This is extremely important, because you want to acquire data that adds value. By using Secure Multiparty Computation, the data can be matched and common individuals identified, without exposing any of the sensitive original data. 

Secondly, organizations must use software that balances privacy and information loss. Without this, the resulting data will be high on privacy protection and extremely low on analytical value, making it useless for extracting insights.

Thanks to the new privacy regulations sweeping the world, acquiring third-party datasets has become extremely risky and costly. Organizations should change their strategy and engage in data partnerships that will provide them with higher quality data. However, for these partnerships to add real value, privacy and IP have to be protected, and data has to maintain its analytical value.

For more about CryptoNumerics’ privacy automation solutions, read our blog here.

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