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Revolutionizing Data Privacy With Chief Privacy Officers

Discover how chief privacy officers (CPOs) can save your organization’s reputation by eliminating the issue of data breaches.

Table of contents

Introduction

1. How the CISO, CPO, and CDO Unite for Success

1.1. Developing a Unified Approach

1.2. Specifying Strategic Goals and ROI

1.3. Streamlining Operations

2. Ways a Chief Privacy Officer Can Help IT Companies

2.1 Stay on Top of Data Privacy Regulations

2.2. Create a Data Breach Response Plan

2.3. Collaborate to Develop Effective Policies

Conclusion

Introduction 

In the early 2000s, many companies and SMEs had one or more C-suites that were dedicated to handling the IT security and compliance framework, such as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Chief Data Officer (CDO). These IT leaders used to team up as policymakers and further implement rules and regulations to enhance company security and fight against cyber security

But looking at the increased concerns over data privacy and the numerous techniques through which personal information is collected and used in numerous industries, the role of chief privacy officer, or CPO, has started playing a central role in the past few years as an advocate for employees and customers to ensure a company’s respect for privacy and compliance with regulations.  

The CPO’s job is to oversee the security and technical gaps by improving current information privacy awareness and influencing business operations throughout the organization. As their role relates to handling the personal information of the stakeholders, CPOs have to create new revenue opportunities and carry out legal and moral procedures to guarantee that employees can access confidential information appropriately while adhering to standard procedures. 

This article will discuss the importance of CPOs and how they can help companies stay ahead of data privacy regulations and compliance. 

1. How the CISO, CPO, and CDO Unite for Success

To safeguard the most vulnerable and valuable asset, i.e., data, the IT c-suites must collaborate to create a data protection and regulatory compliance organizational goal for a better success rate. 

Even though the roles of C-level IT executives have distinct responsibilities, each focuses on a single agenda of data management, security, governance, and privacy. Therefore, by embracing the power of technology and understanding the importance of cross-functional teamwork, these C-level executives can easily navigate the data compliance and protection landscape in their organizations.

For a better simplification of the process and to keep everyone on the same page, C-suites can implement unified platforms that will deliver insights, overall data management, and improvements in security and privacy. 

However, for a better understanding of this ultimate collaboration, here are some points you can consider:

1.1. Developing a Unified Approach 

Unification of all systems, which enables access to data operations from a single source, will help executives distinguish between an application programming interface (API) and a software development kit (SDK), which provides connectivity to consolidate and unify the data. Therefore, when all the elements of this unified integrated system work together, they secure your enterprise, improve operational efficiency, and provide actionable business intelligence. 

1.2. Specifying Strategic Goals and ROI

C-suites must have a clear view of the defined goals, such as the datasets, insights, and features to create robust strategic goals and implement the key metrics for better collaboration between cross-functional departments. This leads to better decision-making and better financial planning through cost savings, resulting in a higher ROI. Moreover, IT executives should consider the pain points to resolve with better data visibility and automation, which ultimately eliminates the issues of redundant processes and systems. 

1.3. Streamlining Operations

According to a survey by Workday, “the super collaborative C-suites,” around 52% of IT executives recognize that the improvement of cybersecurity compliance and privacy protection is a proprietary investment area. Hence, with the rise of cyberattacks, cybersecurity and data privacy management are considered top priorities for all IT organizations. With unified systems, C-suites can align their organizational goals with their overall technological priorities. 

2. Ways a Chief Privacy Officer Can Help IT Companies

For a robust data privacy and data security plan, a CPO needs to collaborate with other C-suite executives. With the alarming concerns of data breaches, CPOs have more responsibilities than just safeguarding stakeholder data through government rules and regulations. Therefore, to be a guide and educate other C-suites and employees in a company, consider creating an executive position for CPOs.

2.1 Stay on Top of Data Privacy Regulations

Government data protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Digital Personal Data Protection Act of 2023 (DPDP), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are proposed to eliminate the challenges and complexities that IT companies are facing related to data security and allow customers to have control over their data. Therefore, to stay ahead of the game, CPOs need to understand and adhere to the new laws and regulations that are being passed and implemented in IT companies and ensure that employees are adhering to privacy policies and company policies to understand which legislation is applied to which section of data privacy. Through periodic internal team training sessions, achieving transparency, consistency, and communication helps the stakeholders of the company make swift decisions and stay in the loop in case of any discrepancy.  

2.2. Create a Data Breach Response Plan

Reputation is easy to build but difficult to repair if there are instances of data breaches. Therefore, to avoid such adversaries, CPOs should develop a proactive strategic plan to protect their companies from data breaches and reputational damage. However, in case of any discrepancy, such as the loss or theft of customer data, the CPOs address the issue to the public and press through press releases and social media posts. 

Simultaneously, the IT and cybersecurity teams can patch and remove vulnerabilities that enabled such breaches as a response step. Similarly, CPOs can revise or update the company’s data privacy policies according to any discrepancies. 

2.3. Collaborate to Develop Effective Policies

Apart from being a data security policymaker and the guardian of data privacy, the CPO’s job involves educating other C-suites in an organization. Working together, all the C-suite officers can create privacy documentation and policies in the presence of their legal team to educate employees. In addition to the external customer privacy policy, the CPO is also in charge of internal policies such as the code of conduct, data privacy shielding policy, social media, data subject access request standards, and data classification, which require collaboration with other departments.

Conclusion

Organizational data protection is a real and complex problem in the modern digitized world. According to a report by Statista in October 2020, there were around 1500 data breaching cases in the United States where more than 165 million sensitive records were exposed. Therefore, to eliminate such issues, C-level leaders are required to address them substantially by hiring a chief privacy officer (CPO). The importance of the chief privacy officer has risen with the growth of data protection in the form of security requirements and legal obligations.

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