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How Does Privacy by Design Support Cross-Border Compliance?

In today's digital age, privacy and data protection are critical issues for individuals and businesses alike. With the rise of cross-border data regulations, it’s become increasingly important to ensure that personal information is adequately protected, regardless of where it’s processed or stored.

One way that companies are achieving strong data protection is through privacy by design. Below, we’ll dive into this approach and explain its usefulness for both data privacy and regulatory compliance.

What is privacy by design?

Simply put, privacy by design (PbD) is a framework for integrating data privacy and protection features into a company’s IT systems, infrastructures, communications, and daily operations. As opposed to retroactively adding data protection measures to existing operations, a PbD mindset incorporates data protection and privacy from the very start.

In its publication on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU defines privacy by design as “nothing more than ‘data protection through technology design.’” The publication goes on to explain that data protection is best achieved when it’s integrated in a technology from the get-go. Privacy by design helps by doing just that — embedding data privacy and protection considerations into the initial design of information systems, technologies, and processes.

So, what are the specific benefits of privacy by design for cross-border compliance? Let's take a closer look.

What are the benefits of privacy by design for cross-border compliance?

PbD might be a legal requirement

Depending on where your company, customers, or data resides, privacy by design may not only be a best practice; it might also be a legal requirement.

For instance, the GDPR mandates PbD as a legal obligation for data controllers and processors in its Article 25. This means that organizations handling EU personal data must implement technical and organizational measures that ensure data protection at all stages of the data lifecycle.

Elsewhere, other data legislation like Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD) also requires privacy by design (though the LGPD does not use that precise term). And Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) includes strong recommendations for PbD as well.

PbD promotes clear documentation of privacy practices

Clearly and transparently accounting for privacy practices is an important part of privacy by design — but it’s also an important part of many data regulations.

Under both PbD and the GDPR, data subjects must be made fully aware of the collection and use of their personal data, and all data processing activities must be well documented. If you’ve already implemented these practices under PbD, there’s a good chance you’re covered with at least a few cross-border data protection laws as well.

PbD fosters a privacy-conscious culture

The more conscientious your team is about data privacy best practices, the more likely you are to meet compliance with cross-border data regulations. Luckily, privacy by design helps to educate and encourage employees to take ownership of data protection. It also implements privacy into everyday workflows and operations, keeping it at the forefront of people’s minds.

These practices in turn foster a culture of strong data privacy and protection. At its best, this kind of culture can help organizations avoid potential breaches, protect their reputation, and meet their legal obligations under data regulation laws.

PbD allows companies to keep up with changing regulations

Cross-border data regulations are not a single, unified legal standard. There are many different laws on the books, and those laws change regularly.

Take, for instance, the Schrems I and II court cases that invalidated certain data transfer mechanisms under the GDPR. Or, consider the 2022 EU-US Data Privacy Framework that is still awaiting a final adequacy decision, and that has many experts anticipating a Schrems III.

Beyond that, new data privacy laws are continuously being passed. Although they all have consumers’ data protection at their heart, some of them differ quite substantially in their requirements.

PbD helps cut through the noise by providing strong data protection from start to finish in the data lifecycle. That data protection helps ensure that regulations can be met across different jurisdictions, even as the laws continue to change and the landscape shifts. The alternative — adding or amending security measures as each new piece of legislation is passed — is time-consuming and costly.

Ultimately, the core principle of privacy by design — having a strong baseline of data protection built into your systems and operations — is a great way to weather changes in the regulatory landscape.

PbD enhances customer trust globally

While not strictly a benefit for compliance, privacy by design can help organizations demonstrate their commitment to protecting customers’ personal data around the world. After all, customers are more likely to do business with organizations that take their privacy and data protection seriously.

The alternative, poor data security and subsequent data breaches, can do real damage to a business’s reputation. By one Forbes estimate, 46% of organizations suffered damage to their brand value as a result of a data breach.

At the end of the day, a company implementing end-to-end security for every stage in the data lifecycle is far more likely to gain their company’s trust and loyalty than a company taking a haphazard or patchwork approach to data security.

ShardSecure: supporting compliance and privacy by design

ShardSecure’s holistic data control platform is helping companies implement PbD with advanced privacy and security for data at rest. Whether you store your data on-prem, in the cloud, or in hybrid- or multi-cloud locations, ShardSecure protects that data from the impact of unauthorized access. Cyberattackers and cloud administrators alike can’t read or reconstruct sensitive data once we’ve desensitized it.

Our strong data privacy also helps organizations maintain compliance with the GDPR and other cross-border data protection laws. We meet the definition of split or multi-party processing in Use Case 5 of Schrems II, and we can be integrated with other security measures for a defense-in-depth approach.

Privacy by design will continue to be critical for organizations in the coming years. By integrating data privacy measures like ShardSecure into your workflows, you can protect your customers and your company and stay compliant with cross-border data protection laws around the world.


OIPC – Privacy by Design Resources | International Association of Privacy Professionals

Privacy by Design — General Data Protection Regulation | GDPR

Art. 25 GDPR – Data Protection by Design and by Default | GDPR

Privacy by Design: Principle 6 – Visibility and Transparency | Global Privacy and Security by Design

Creating Risk-Aware Culture Through Privacy by Design | Security Magazine

The Reputational Impact of IT Risk | Forbes