These days I wish I could be a fly on the wall of any business meeting concerned about data breaches and keeping data safe (and yes, I do see the irony).

Developing privacy-aware corporate cultures with organizational structures that address legal risks is no small task.

But more than ever organizations must have an eagle eye on processes that safeguard personal information.

Gartner expects that by 2018, 50 percent of business ethics violations will occur through improper use of big data analytics

Organizations must also address rising interest in data protection legislation, which is leading to varying compliance in different regions.

So how do organizations ensure data remains secure? 

Well-conceived compliance programs can unify competing interests and provide an important risk‑management tool.

Make Privacy Policies Clear

Ethical companies are implementing enforceable and clear privacy policies for data management. The importance of these policies is to mark where responsibilities start and end.

Lawyers following data breech issues see privacy policy compliance as the central concern which companies should give full attention to avoid class-action lawsuits.

Daliah Saper, founder of Saper Law in Chicago, noted the trend while speaking at WindyCityThings, an Internet of Things conference in Chicago earlier this year. "For privacy policies, it is not the breach that’s the source of the complaint,” Saper explained. “It’s the idea that you did not do enough to protect the consumer’s information. You need to disclose what you plan to do with that information.”

Highlighting policy also minimizes customer fears on data use. I covered a few outcomes in the post You Just Can’t Afford A Data Breach that still hold true regardless of the company at the heart of a breach.

Know What Data to Keep

Companies are learning to process only the data they deem necessary, but they should keep in mind that the necessity behind the data can change.

Companies should create a periodic verification plan, be it by a face-to-face meeting or by an online gathering via a tool like Slack.

Employees across an organization can explain their activities and establish a common framework for what data processing should be happening among their teams. That framework can be important in supporting ethical data initiatives.

Analysts who rely on self-serve analytics solutions can assist in highlighting what evolved as data is accessed regularly for in-depth analysis.

Cross-functional teams can be involved and even benefit in the long run. Discussions of privacy protection can be a great forum to build empathy for how other departments work.

Data analysis involves understanding the context of usage, so questions of how other departments use data can be a team building quality similar to what CMSWire Contributor James Williams notes in his article, Product Development Is a Team Sport.

Learning Opportunities

Vetting Your Vendor’s Vendors

As data is shared among vendors, questioning vendor data use will rise alongside that for companies who are first party to customers.

The rise of third party tags in analytics is an example. When examining the tags on a company site, unfamiliar third party tags can be attached when implementing client-server analytics tagging.

In short, what party is capturing which data with what tag becomes an important in preventing an erosion of data control.

Many privacy laws are based on the party of tags on a website. Thus businesses must audit sources for unfamiliar publisher tags that can alter intended traffic sources.

Those sources can send traffic from unintended regions to market a product or service. The result is inadvertently breach privacy legislation from those regions with advertising not vetted for a region’s privacy requirements.

Map the Boundaries of Your Network

Geofencing, the filtering of traffic under known IP addresses, gained popularity among retailers looking to address webrooming and showrooming behavior among shoppers.

Geofencing allows marketers a focused analysis of customer activity in a retail space and link customer preferences in-store to data collected in-store.

The same technical can help keep vigilance on a network. Establishing an IP filter in an analytics solution profile can help high analysts compare if activity differed from within a network.

Monitor Privacy News on Twitter

Twitter has cemented its reputation as a source of breaking news and ideas. Marketers can leverage that perspective by monitoring news in typical privacy battlegrounds such as Europe.

To do this, use the search feature on Twitter to find hashtags on privacy or for discovering accounts sharing the latest privacy news.

Then create a column dedicated to that hashtag or account in an aggregator — either Tweetdeck or Hootsuite will do. Noticing how firms manage their compliance can provide lessons and inspiration for managing customer expectations.

A balance between data governance and true self-service is necessary for businesses to compete while keeping data secure.A few steps in being proactive can go a long way to making a data-driven culture a safe one for customers.

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