In the battle to win over new customers and keep the loyalty of old ones, marketing teams across every industry have tried all kinds of incentives. But one incentive whose value companies are starting to recognize is a commitment to privacy.

Why? Because customers are well aware that protecting their information is vital to their own security.

In last year’s ITRC Aftermath report, the survey data revealed a startling truth: the overwhelming majority of respondents believed a major data breach or hacking event was inevitable. They had similar concerns about identity theft. A Truste survey went on to find that 87% of consumers are worried about their information being collected and then used in ways they don’t know about. But new reports from Forrester Research group has actually predicted that 2015 will be the year that businesses gain a competitive marketing edge over other industry entities by putting data security at the top of their customer service priorities.

Businesses of every size are now capitalizing on consumers’ heightened awareness of the risks of data loss by putting privacy and information security in the spotlight. Moreover, many businesses are now adopting an air of transparency about how much information they gather, how they store and protect it, and what steps they take to keep it out of the wrong hands. This level of openness is pretty enticing to customers who have a decision to make about where to spend their dollars when other factors are the same.

One of the first major corporations to promote this protection and transparency has been Apple, and that should come as no surprise considering the market penetration the company has, the potential for widespread data loss that smartphones and tablets can have, and the fact that they’ve pioneered cloud-based data storage. Apple has gone to great lengths to inform consumers about the seriousness with which they take privacy protection. Google has not been far behind with the new offering of it’s Privacy Checkup and the ability to now limit what information is shared about you even when you don’t have a Google account or aren’t signed into it.

Until all businesses are on board with protecting your personal identifiable information (PII), there are things you can do to minimize your risks. One way to do so is to be mindful of how much information you’re sharing with businesses, and make it your job to find out what they can do with your information. Finally, vote with your wallet…if a company cannot demonstrate a clear need for the data they’re collecting from you and does not provide its customers with transparent documentation of where your information will end up, take your business elsewhere. There are too many companies making great headway in PII security for you to put up with someone taking a haphazard approach to your protection.