Persuading kids to eat their vegetables can prove challenging.
But that’s nothing compared with getting developers to push through the pain barrier and write code that addresses data privacy regulations, according to eXate Technology Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Sonal Rattan.
In her previous role as EMEA Markets Head of RegTech at HSBC, Rattan was tasked with processing information according to data privacy and financial regulations.
While this may sound simple and straightforward, software engineers know only too well how much expertise, effort and time can be required to ensure data is processed correctly. Although engineers are accustomed to exhibiting exceptional levels of patience while working within incredibly complex environments, the challenges of implementing data protection protocols can push pain levels off the charts.
For their part, business managers keen to gain insights from customer data struggle to comprehend how it could possibly take so much time for engineers to fulfil a request for information.
Taking the headache out of data sharing
Conscious that other banks were facing the same challenges, and convinced that there was a better way, Rattan co-founded eXate in 2015. Her mission was to offer an automated solution that would lessen the burden on engineers, allow business managers to get data more quickly, and ultimately benefit customers.
Rattan describes eXate as a data privacy platform that enables organisations to easily share data internally and externally by placing fine-grained controls on data to a consumer level. With the ethics around data usage at the heart of everything eXate does, the platform is designed to make it easy to take any data set, and then put privacy controls on top. It automates processes and makes them faster.
Automatically applying privacy controls
At the outset, an organisation’s legal department and data officer will set rules to tell eXate how data can be used. Then, when an employee wants to access data, the individual connects to the platform and answers questions in order to clarify what it is they want to do with the data. The platform then automatically applies the appropriate privacy controls, based on the rules set by the legal and privacy executives.
Rattan says the platform is particularly suited to large, global organisations, especially in regulated industries.
Cost of compliance can discourage data analysis
She points out that, in some cases, the cost of complying with regulations has made it too expensive to analyse data.
Supposing a global investment bank operating in many different jurisdictions wanted to analyse trade data in order to identify opportunities to increase revenue. It would typically need to set up an operation in each country in order to ensure that the data was processed in accordance with local regulations. Unfortunately, setting up separate operations would be so expensive that the cost of undertaking the analysis could outweigh the potential benefit of incremental revenues.
However, eXate’s platform would allow the bank to gain business insights in a cost-effective way by performing the analysis in one environment. The platform would segregate the data and place controls on each set of data to ensure that it could be processed only in accordance with relevant regulations. So data from Switzerland would be processed differently to data from France or the Philippines.
Making it easy for developers
For developers, Rattan asserts that there’s no need to be an encryption expert to use eXate’s technology: “We care about making it easy for the developers to adopt it so there’s no reason for them not to factor in data protection and data privacy.” This frees up engineers to focus on what they want to be doing, i.e. using their ingenuity to build great products.
Cybersecurity offers potential beyond financial services
eXate was born out of a desire to make things easier within the financial services arena. However, eXate’s participation in the CyLon accelerator programme has highlighted significant potential for data protection products within the cybersecurity space.
Rattan points to a Market and Markets report1 that values the global cybersecurity market at US$248 billion by 2023, and a Market Research Engine2 study that forecasts data protection at US$120 billion by the same year. These statistics suggest opportunities for eXate beyond the financial services space, as organisations in all sectors struggle to walk the fine line between capitalising on data and managing it responsibly.
Unlocking data by locking it
In a world of data breaches, fines, antitrust probes and targeted political advertising on social media, companies across the board are waking up to the economic and moral imperatives of properly managing data. “We give you the ability to unlock data by locking it”, Rattan says. “By protecting it, we’re allowing you to do more with it.”
Clearly, her achievements within the data privacy sphere are considerable.
So surely devising a solution to get kids to eat their vegetables would be a doddle?!
1Markets and Markets (2018) Cybersecurity Market worth $248.3 billion by 2023 [Press release] 21 September. Available at: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/cyber-security.asp (Accessed: 1 November 2019)
2Market Research Engine (2019) Data Protection Market is Anticipated to Grow US$ 120 Billion By 2023 [Press release] 16 January. Available at: https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/data-protection-market-is-anticipated-to-grow-us-120-billion-by-2023-2019-01-16 (Accessed: 1 November 2019)
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