Solve the Privacy Puzzle
These days, a 7 percent increase in shareholder value should get senior management pretty excited; but if it doesn’t, try thinking about it this way: You have to figure that failure to be privacy-positive comes at a price. One company’s 7 percent gain is another’s 7 percent loss, and that’s just if the company losing out is privacy neutral. Failure to manage privacy effectively leads to damaging privacy incidents. We have seen such incidents produce an immediate 10 percent drop in shareholder value.
Fortunately, there are some inexpensive ways of doing this. Most companies have existing channels of communication, from employee newsletters and bulletin boards, to staff meetings, e-mail and Intranet. Creative use of these channels can be very effective in producing employee awareness of the company’s commitment to privacy and the specifics of its privacy policies, including the responsibility it places on each employee. And should there come a day when your company’s commitment to privacy is challenged, a well-documented, in-house privacy awareness campaign will go a long way to proving the company was duly diligent in this increasingly important aspect of its business.
Stephen Cobb is the author of “Privacy for Business” and operates www.privacyforbusiness.com. In addition to being a certified information system security professional and adjunct professor of information assurance, he is a senior research fellow at ePrivacy Group (www.eprivacygroup.com). He can be reached at (212) 655-9392.