We are in a golden age of data breaches – just this week, the United States Post Office was the latest casualty – and consumer attitudes about data security and privacy are evolving accordingly. If your data security and privacy programs exist just to ensure you meet compliance, you’re going to be in trouble. Data (and the resulting insights) is power. Data can also be the downfall for an organization when improperly handled or lost. 
In 2015, Forrester predicts that privacy will be a competitive differentiator. There is a maze of conflicting global privacy laws to address and business partner requirements to meet in today’s data economy. There’s also a fine line between cool and creepy, and often it’s blurred. Companies, such as Apple, are sensitive to this and adjusting their strategies and messaging accordingly. Meanwhile, customers — both consumers and businesses — vote with their wallets. 
Smart organizations that are in tune with their customers’ needs will move to earn and retain customer trust by ensuring that privacy is a competitive differentiator for their business and part of their business technology agenda — not just giving privacy lip service, but following through with appropriate privacy policies, means of enforcement, and building privacy considerations in to business operations and the products or services offered to customers. To do so requires the leadership of a privacy champion, be it a Chief Privacy Officer, Data Protection Officer, or privacy professional to take on this responsibility to rally and oversee privacy efforts. Today, about a third of security decision-makers in North America and Europe view privacy as a competitive differentiator. Forrester expects to see half of enterprises share this sentiment by the end of 2015. 
We’ll also be making some data security and privacy predictions as it relates to technologies like encryption and rights management, social media data use, wearables for fitness and health tracking, and impact of geopolitical events and state sponsored attacks. Forrester clients can download the full report here and see our full list of 2015 Predictions here. What do you think? Will privacy be a competitive differentiator for business, and generate true change in how companies operate? Or will we see a whole lot of talk and not action?