Keeping it Private for the Good of the Company
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“The unseen enemy is always the most fearsome”

-George R.R Martin, A Clash of Kings, ‘Game of Thrones’

Hold on a second. Maybe we have it all wrong.

I am not big on picking off the corpses of broken reputations like a carrion bird, but I think we need to rethink privacy for a second. In my experience as a CEO, there is only one true driver behind privacy for an enterprise and that is brand protection.

The leader of an enterprise generally has one main goal to drive business operations towards: increasing shareholder value. There are many ways to do this, and who am I to wax lyrical on the best way to achieve this? (I detest preachy blogs.) But from conversations with my colleagues and other business leaders, it appears to me that the one thing we are all obsessed with is how to thoroughly protect our brand.

Most companies enact proactive measures such as ensuring a better service/solution/innovation than their competitors. However, we also need to take defensive measures to ensure we don’t end up as the next big data breach news story, requiring us to deal with the legal ramifications associated with such a breach. This is the reason enterprises invest so much in cybersecurity. They fear the unknown security threats out there and want to cover all the bases. We are seeing more and more innovative technologies created to protect us from the unknown, and we certainly hope that we have done enough on our end.

As we can see, when it comes to security, enterprises are on a constant and relentless march to protect themselves from the unknown. So why is that not the case with privacy?

Privacy revolves around the protection of personal data. What privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA are doing helps [enterprises or organizations] protect their brand. It seems to me that rather than being antagonistic to it, we should embrace it. Privacy regulations require you to know what you are doing with personal data at all points in the management of your data lifecycle.

The main challenge in protecting the privacy of your brand is tracking and locating your unknown personal data. This unseen ‘enemy’ is what troubles most business leaders.

From the 2018 IAPP privacy tech report, we can see that nearly all of the ‘Privacy Tech’ is focused on telling you where your personal data is once you can tell the ‘Privacy Tech’ where the data is. These solutions don’t really help you with the main challenge of personal data discovery, do they?

Fortunately, together with TrustArc, IAPP concluded that more than 80% of enterprises are looking for a network analytics-based solution to help with their privacy. The reason is simple. Only by continuously studying network behaviors and the uses of personal data can enterprises have up-to-date visibility into what is happening with their personal data.

And the one thing that all cyber hackers have in common is they realize something that we possibly haven’t yet.

“Its the unknown that draws people”.

-E.A. Bucchianeri

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