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February 3, 2023
November 30, 2022

A Confidential Design for Digital Marketing

Learn how confidential computing can help digital marketers to unlock the full value of their data.

Tamsin Hill
Marketing Executive at R3

Going digital isn’t just about enhancing the supply chain of business operations. In this digital era, marketing is also hugely impacted. This has widened the marketing landscape, seeing marketers and advertisers competing even more viciously for customer attention. With access to more customer data than ever before, digital marketers can make real impact on boosting brand awareness to snatch both old and new customer attention with more relevant messaging. Being a data-driven marketer in the digital world is critical.

However, with more customer data comes more potential for misuse. Inevitably, this comes with growing limits on how digital marketers can use customer data. As in any other data-related role, marketers must stay on top of the ever-changing backdrop of constantly constricting regulations. This comes mainly due to the attention brought by mounting data privacy concerns from consumers and the misuse of cookies. Government regulations, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have already begun to place limits on the use of customer data.

According to Gartner, almost one out of five marketers report privacy compliance as their main concern across marketing channels. Furthermore, 73 percent of marketers fear privacy concerns will negatively impact their analytics efforts. Many marketers are facing a dilemma on how they can best utilize their gold dust customer data without risking falling out of their regulatory compliance obligations.

Leveraging privacy-enhancing technologies

Many businesses are already forward-thinking in their strategies to ensure future-proof compliance with regulations. However, these practices for data management may not be sufficient in the new data ecosystem. Sticking to strict regulatory obligations may hinder valuable data utility potential.

Digital marketers are one of many other data-user focused roles seeking ways to solve this data dilemma. One emerging development could be the answer – privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). Gartner added these critical designs to its list of 2022 strategic technology trends – and it’s becoming clear why.

These privacy-focused solutions are gaining lots of momentum, coming to many organizations’ rescue. Their main function is to secure the highest levels of private data conservation, whilst still allowing organizations to share and use data lawfully to be used for analytics. This can be done by minimizing the amount of data used and encrypting or anonymizing personal information.

One of the most valuable capabilities of PETs, is the ability to protect data-in-use, beyond just protecting at rest and in transit. This means data can remain fully secure and inaccessible from third parties while being used or processed via searches or analytics. This means if organizations begin to instil PETs as part of their everyday data management processes, marketing and advertising teams can also leverage their power, boosting business branding and, in turn, help drive a better ROI.

Trust in the tech

Companies are keen to collaborate in their data sharing to make full use of all data available. Marketers are already trying to use it collaboratively to understand their customers’ journeys, from mere browsing to final purchase points. However, fears concerning sharing data across multiple datasets, potentially risking breaching compliance obligations, still hold them back from enabling critical data analytics and attaining intelligent insight.

What if marketers could share data while making the most of data analytics, without revealing any raw data to third parties, and remove all parties from the trust model?

Step in confidential computing, one of the emerging PETs, that leverages the security of trusted execution environments (TEE). This environment allows code to be run, and data to be accessed, in a way that is isolated from the rest of the system. Where other PETs may suffer a loss of utility or additional overhead due to encryption processes, TEEs do not. This is due to the fact it is rooted at a hardware level, rather than software, and any confidential computation is performed on unencrypted data. Using the TEE, data can also be protected from disclosure and provides a level of assurance of data integrity, data confidentiality, and code integrity.

This means that those harnessing the power of confidential computing will be able to extract all value possible from all data available or shared, without compromising on privacy. Marketers will be able to leverage as well as increase audience analytics through aggregate data that has been confidentially processed in the TEEs.

Putting privacy first

A final critical component of confidential computing is the assurances it gives, providing higher degrees of data ownership and control. Having a form of attestation as part of any confidential computing solution is part of the new era of ‘verify, then trust’ rather than traditional trust models – ‘trust but verify’. Remote attestation is the method where a client authenticates its hardware to a server and is therefore used to determine the level of trust in the integrity of platform of another system. This helps prove privacy, a critical component of the overall protection of privacy – especially when multiple party datasets are involved.

Understanding how specific technological solutions can help data-driven digital marketers stay on the right side of regulations and customer privacy concerns is critical. PETs are a step in the right direction, but looking at confidential computing might be the required step forward.

Want to learn more about confidential computing use cases? Learn how privacy-preserving technology can enable a new approach to improve credit scoring.

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