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With the rise of self-serve analytics, more people than ever are handling data on a daily basis within the average organization. With this increased access to and use of information, enterprises need to be more aware of data privacy and protection issues and extend privacy training well beyond technical teams to reach all levels of staff. Many organizations, however, struggle to implement successful programs due to lack of budget. Because of this, it is essential to architect privacy training programs that piggyback off of existing initiatives – rather than exist in isolation – in order to best take advantage of existing resources. Privacy training initiatives need to leverage existing budget rather than trying to make their own.

Privacy training initiatives cannot exist in isolation

Every company is increasingly a data company; usage of information today extends well beyond technical teams to include business users who are less aware of the granular requirements for data protection and privacy. As the occurrence of internal breaches continues to rise, and regulations such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) put pressure on the enterprise to strictly govern personal information, there is a growing need for privacy awareness to be part of organizational culture so that there can be an "all hands on deck" mentality toward data protection, rather than relegating the issue to a single team or department. Technology alone cannot achieve privacy; while many products contain controls such as role-based access and data masking, the complexity of the typical enterprise data ecosystem means that there is always the possibility of data slipping through the cracks. It's critical that everyday users are trained to be aware of these issues so that they can recognize when data is not being properly protected or handled.

Many organizations have responded to this need by creating a role for a privacy officer or a privacy team. However, enterprise privacy programs, in many cases, suffer the same fate that early information governance programs did: they are staffed by committees that have too little time, power, or budget to implement robust enterprise-wide initiatives. While this isn't the case in all organizations, privacy officers or teams are often appointed more for their advice and guidance than for any true purchasing or implementation power. This doesn't mean, however, that enterprise-wide privacy training can't be successful. It just needs to be attached to existing business initiatives rather than acting as a standalone project. It needs to follow the money.

For privacy training to be both pervasive and successful, the organization must adopt a practical rather than idealistic approach, by selectively targeting existing departments and initiatives that have budget. Starting early, with employee onboarding, is one way to ensure that privacy issues are addressed across all roles within the enterprise. Identify the areas with the most available funding, then architect a way for privacy training to fit into the existing initiative. Data privacy and protection cut across the entire enterprise, affecting all departments and roles. Privacy training can always be made relevant to existing initiatives. In a practical world, catering the training material to the department or program is secondary to securing the basic resources to ensure the training happens.

By taking this approach, the enterprise can guarantee not only that training occurs, but that absorption and retention of the material is higher as well. Embedding privacy training within existing business initiatives gives data protection issues deeper practical context that wouldn't be evident if taught in isolation. Doing this ensures that a diverse population receives training, and that training is both effective and cost-efficient.


Further reading

Privacy as a Business Advantage, IT0014-003214 (January 2017)

Keeping Data Governance, Privacy, and Architectural Implications Front of Mind, IT0014-003302(July 2017)

"For GDPR compliance, documentation is just as important as execution," IT0014-003271 (May 2017)


Paige Bartley, Senior Analyst, Information Management

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