THE MAGAZINE

Effective Privacy on a Tight Budget

By John Wagley

Privacy initiatives are often seen as a drain on resources, but program managers can change that by emphasizing common goals.

Those in charge of corporate privacy programs must work closely with a wide variety of executives and departments throughout the organization to achieve the program’s goals. But the programs, relatively new in many organizations, are frequently viewed by other departments as a potential drag on business.

That challenge can keep programs from being effective, according to Gartner, Inc., research director Carsten Casper, who spoke at a recent Gartner conference. To overcome internal resistance, privacy program managers must find allies to help push for mutually beneficial policies and security solutions.

Before critical meetings, for example, it helps for privacy officers to have a good sense of the other parties’ business goals, and to understand how both sides can help each other succeed, he said.
 
Privacy program aims, for example, could include expanding the use of consent when collecting customer data. If meeting with marketing executives, officers might relate how expanded use of consent could generate more data, which could then be used for purposes such as targeted advertising, he said.

In certain cases, privacy programs can help to improve the efficiency of business operations by helping the business understand that it really doesn’t need to collect so much data. Many organizations have gathered extensive amounts of medical information from employees to prepare for situations such as medical emergencies, for example. Given the sensitive nature of such data, however, organizations could consider requesting less, but more relevant, information such as whether an employee has disabilities or insulin requirements, said Casper.

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