Kenyan businesses must continue to embrace new technologies to enhance operations, gain a competitive edge, and meet evolving customer demands. However, as innovation surges forward, it’s essential to confront the privacy concerns that come with a more connected world. Here are the top six data privacy concerns Kenyan businesses should be mindful of when adopting new tech solutions:
1. Data breaches and cybersecurity
As connectivity increases, so does the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks. Businesses must prioritise robust cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, encryption, and regular security audits to safeguard sensitive information from unauthorised access.
2. Compliance with data protection regulations
Kenya’s Data Protection Act places responsibilities on businesses to safeguard personal data. Given the hefty penalties for non-compliance, it is imperative for businesses to ensure that any new technology they implement aligns seamlessly with these regulations.
3. Data ownership and usage
Integrating new technology often requires businesses to share data with external parties. Concerns about data ownership and usage arise, necessitating transparent contractual agreements that clearly define responsibilities and usage rights.
4. Transparent user consent
With technologies like AI and machine learning, data has become the fuel that drives innovation. To maintain customer trust, Kenyan businesses must be transparent about data collection and processing methods. Organisations should always obtain explicit consent from users before handling their data.
5. Employee privacy
The introduction of new technologies can inadvertently infringe on employee privacy. Kenyan businesses should establish clear policies for monitoring and accessing employee data to ensure a balance between productivity and respect for personal privacy.
6. Emerging technologies and unforeseen risks
Cutting-edge technologies such as biometrics and facial recognition can introduce new privacy risks. Businesses must carefully evaluate the potential effects on user privacy and take proactive steps to mitigate any negative consequences.
Tips to address privacy concerns:
Conduct privacy impact assessments – Before implementing new technology, assess its potential impact on privacy and data security. Identify risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.
Prioritise privacy by design – Incorporate privacy considerations into the development of new technologies. Privacy needs to be a foundational element, not an afterthought.
Educate stakeholders – Train employees and educate customers about the privacy features of new technologies so they can control how data is used. Create awareness about data protection measures and ensure that users understand their rights.
Regularly update privacy policies – Privacy policies should evolve with technology. Regularly update policies to reflect changes and communicate these updates clearly to stakeholders.
Stay informed about regulations – Compliance is the key to avoiding costly legal challenges. Stay up to date with Kenya’s data protection regulations and international privacy standards to mitigate risk.
While the introduction of new technologies is inevitable, businesses in Kenya must prioritise addressing privacy concerns to ensure a smooth and secure transition. This requires stringent security measures and open communication.
At Zoho, we advocate for this comprehensive approach to privacy and security, encouraging businesses to fortify their defences, comply with regulations, and champion transparency. By adopting these principles, businesses can embrace innovation while preserving user trust and confidence.
(Veerakumar Natarajan is the Country Head, Zoho Kenya).