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Digital Privacy 101 – Best Practices for Enterprises

It’s never too soon to plan for the future. Taking proactive steps to secure your client’s digital privacy could pay off big in 2020.

Concerns over the protecting digital data have always been at the forefront of a CIO’s mind. But when the 2017 Equifax breach struck, it brewed fresh concern. After that, executives across business verticals began working even harder to secure the digital privacy of their customers’ data. 

Here are some best practices that enterprises follow today.

5 enterprise-level best practices for digital privacy 

1. Support leadership buy-in.

Protecting customer data can make or break a company, so it should be a top priority. If security isn’t considered vital when issuing departmental finances, you might not get the resources you need to protect your company.

Luckily, most organizations support privacy-focused leadership buy-ins. If your company does not, remind them of the high costs of poor data management if they fail to protect their customer identities.

2. Designate one dedicated security personnel. 

With security at the leadership level, companies can plan more robust organizational initiatives.

Appointing one individual to manage an enterprise’s digital privacy is a sound practice. This means a C-level professional should screen for legal and compliance risks that impact customer security and privacy. 

3. Develop a culture of security and privacy.

Let’s face it—many security-related incidents occur due to human negligence. With packed schedules and tight deadlines, crucial processes may sometimes go unattended. When that happens, an enterprise may suffer irreparable damage.  

It’s no surprise that employees are the gatekeepers of a company’s security. One wrong move can result in severe repercussions. Hence, companies must teach employees how to adhere to security and privacy policies. It also helps to explain why certain security controls are in place. 

To achieve this, companies should invest in employee security training and educate different departments about the impact of a data breach. Let them know that one careless action can ruin the reputation of a company. In short, when people understand why certain rules are important, they’ll respect these more. 

4. Establish transparent processes and policies. 

No matter how perfect your framework is, it’s useless if your customers aren’t aware of your processes and policies. Make dedicated policy pages and place links to these on your site’s home page and menu bar.

5. Strategize an incident response plan. 

Data breaches are a nightmare that companies dread. That’s why gatekeepers must prepare for it in advance. 

Don’t wait to draft incident policies for your customers after a data breach. With a digital privacy response plan, you can tell your customers what to do, discuss their roles, and show them how to communicate internally and externally in the event of a data breach. 

The ability to demonstrate Return on Mitigation (ROM) is also a critical metric to CEOs. To do this, calculate potential risks and assess how much can be saved through on-time mitigation.

The rise of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The Chief Information Officer or CDO is a relatively new designation in the field of online digital privacy. The role is heavily dependent on data. It refers to a gatekeeper who needs to keep both the company and customer information protected at all times.  

Traditionally, the responsibilities of creating data strategies rested with the CIO. But shortly after the economic crisis of the early 2000s, the role of a CDO gained prominence.

Today, a Chief Data Officer is a crucial part of many organizations. Here’s what CDOs focus on.

Top 5 responsibilities of a Chief Data Officer (CDO)

1. Privacy and security

Chances are, almost every organization will hire people to protect their customer data and privacy. A CDO’s job is to:

  • Ensure that things are in place.
  • See that safeguards are enforced as expected. 
  • Establish standards and guidelines.
  • See that all customer data handlers know their roles

2. Centralized, integrated data

Data silos often exist beneath the centralized system of an enterprise. The problem with silos arises when only one group in an organization can access a source of data. Inaccessible data silos can frustrate employees and waste IT resources. 

It may seem enticing to grab data feed from the data warehouse and establish a separate data mart than follow the centralized system. But the disadvantages are comparatively higher and include a lack of data security, decreased digital privacy, and duplication of effort.  

A CDO’s goal is to find better replacements to data silos, such as integrated and accessible data lakes. 

3. Governance

CDOs need to understand the different definitions of “revenue” and “customer.” While both terms seem easy and pretty straightforward, ask around. You will end up with different metrics from various departments. For sales and marketing, a data governance framework will enable valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior.

When it comes to governance, here’s what a CDO does: 

  • Establish standard definitions for all business terms.
  • Convince all the stakeholders to agree on it. 
  • Set up a data maintenance process.
  • Get buy-in on overall governance. 

4. Opportunities to monetize

Data is an asset and not the byproduct of an enterprise. Data should be protected, managed, and leveraged to its highest value. An excellent way to boost data’s value is by improving operational efficiencies. 

In this case, the job of a CDO is to strategize springboards and generate top-line revenue. 

5. Convert data to business 

One of the hardest roles of a CDO is to upgrade corporate culture so that it values data-driven decisions. To do this, a CDO should be the champion of customer data within the organization. 

CDOs show people how to make smart decisions that will make their job more productive. Their enthusiasm should be contagious. If they believe in their vision, they can convince others, as well. 


Getting your enterprise onboard with these best practices is the first step to attaining better digital privacy for your customers.


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