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Privacy Tech | This privacy tech vendor hopes free solution can help resource-strapped companies Related reading: Vendor uses automation to help organizations move away from snapshot compliance



Privacy compliance is a challenge for companies of all sizes, but it is a taller mountain to climb for smaller organizations that do not have the resources of their larger counterparts. 

Privacy technology startup Ketch hopes it can help those entities in need through its "Over the Counter Free" solution, which, as its name implies, is a product free of charge.

"We do believe part of our role as a business is to provide more privacy solutions to our customers so consumers can enjoy a better privacy experience," said Ketch Head of Legal Robert Cunningham, CIPP/E. "We are in the business of running a successful and profitable business, but we do want more online virtual platforms to be offering their consumers better privacy experiences, and so that is part of the motivation for offering the free solution."

Ketch OTC Free includes a consent management platform, a preference center to handle data subject access requests and a policy center that allows legal teams to set up how they will process data in a particular region and adhere to its regulations. Cunningham said one of the most important attributes of the OTC Free solution is its regional flexibility.

Cunningham called the solution "jurisdiction-agnostic" in that it adapts to whatever legislation customers need to follow, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation, Brazil's General Data Protection Law or the California Consumer Privacy Act.

While Ketch offers OTC Free to businesses of all sizes, Cunningham expects the majority of adopters will be small- and medium-sized enterprises. In addition to having access to additional financial resources, Cunningham said larger companies will have requirements that exceed the capacity of the product. Currently, OTC Free handles one million unique identifiers a month.

Cunningham believes Ketch's solution can help SMEs address some of the biggest pain points preventing them from adopting privacy tech, particularly budget constraints.

"That’s where our genuine desire to spread greater privacy opportunity comes into play," said Cunningham. "If budget is the reason someone cannot afford a four or five-digit expenditure on privacy, we want to do our part and make it more available. Do we want them to get excited about Ketch as they grow and buy our paid products? Of course we do, but that’s part of the motivation in helping with budget limitations."

Another avenue where the OTC Free may help companies is by placing less pressure on tech teams. Cunningham said IT departments can figure out whether the tool fits in well with their systems without having the specter of wasted money hanging over their heads.

Cunningham added OTC Free can be a useful tool for companies overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of privacy information they have to digest, so much so that they end up suffering from "paralysis by intimidation."

"There is so much content and so much ‘legal intimidation’ about these issues that we think many companies are not even getting started because they don’t know where to start," said Cunningham.

The Ketch OTC Free solution may be the tech vendor's latest offering, but Cunningham said the tech vendor is a for-profit business. Cunningham hopes SMEs that grow with Ketch will eventually turn to their paid products, which includes a web infrastructure product and a data asset manager.

But what's most important for Ketch is ensuring organizations can offer their customers a proper privacy experience. He also expects other privacy tech vendors to follow its lead and bring free solutions to the marketplace. 

"I think there are a lot of companies that dove into the post-GDPR gold rush of privacy software that wouldn’t do what we are doing because the free stuff we are giving away is all they have," said Cunningham. "It would be silly of them to do that. I do expect that other companies of our caliber may follow our lead here and give the basics away for free and entice customers to learn about the distinguishing, more sophisticated products that they can offer."

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  • comment Emma Butler • Aug 9, 2021
    While I am happy to see companies selling privacy compliance software acknowledging the issues faced by charities, start-ups and SMEs, the ones I work with don't need consent management (because most of their processing is done on other lawful bases), a preference centre or a policy centre. They need help with their data inventory, keeping track of suppliers, recording risk assessments, an online training platform and understanding what the requirements are.  That's why so many continue to use word documents and spreadsheets.