Leveraging Your Investment in Your Company’s Privacy Policies



While drafting policies might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s immense value in understanding and implementing effective privacy practices. Privacy laws play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive data, restricting information sharing, and penalizing misuse. By holding companies accountable, these laws protect both individuals and companies from data breaches.


Leveraging Privacy


Privacy Laws: A Global Landscape

Privacy laws are here to stay, with over 70% of countries having enacted legislation to protect data and privacy. While different countries have their own privacy regimes, many share similar values. The EU has taken a lead role in shaping the privacy debate. While we must align with terms of GDPR, it doesn’t mean we don’t also have to comply with other country’s laws. However, GDPR has created a kind of standard terms of reference. For example, GDPR-type laws introduced terms like “data controller” and “data processor.” These terms have found acceptance worldwide. That said, there’s resistance to the EU dictating global privacy rules, and different cultural perspectives contribute to this complexity.

Crafting Customer-Centric Privacy Policies

Reframing the Privacy Discussion

We often associate privacy discussions with compliance, especially in the context of regulations like GDPR. But we need to think beyond just checking boxes. The goal here is to shift from a mere compliance-oriented mindset to one that aligns privacy practices with customer values and business objectives.

Why is privacy so crucial? It all boils down to trust. Trust is the cornerstone of relationships – be it with individuals or businesses. When trust is breached, it can have a ripple effect, making people hesitant to trust you in other aspects of your business. Businesses increasingly value their privacy. A significant majority are willing to invest time and money to establish privacy policies and safeguard their data.

Because of this, you must design your privacy policy with the customer in mind, not just as a legal document but as a tool to build trust. This approach results in a policy that’s not a hindrance to your business but instead facilitates it. The goal isn’t 100% compliance with every country’s laws, but rather ensuring helping facilitate compliance for your customers. This means your privacy policy should be understandable and relatable across different jurisdictions.

Building Blocks of an Effective Privacy Policy

Key to an effective privacy policy is comprehending personal information, not just as “Personally Identifiable Information.” The term “personally identifiable information” originated in U.S. privacy laws, particularly those regulating the disclosure of health care information. However, the term is too narrow for a global privacy policy. Rather you should use the concept of “personal information.”

Personal information is information that, by itself, or in combination with other information, can:
• Identify;
• Locate; or
• Contact
an individual human. Using this concept, you’ll have a more robust way to understand how the data that flows through your organization may be subject to regulation by a country’s privacy laws. The significance of terms lies in their combined context.

After you fully understand the term “personal information,” you will next need to conduct a data flow analysis. This involves understanding how data is captured, stored, accessed, and shared. A data flow analysis is relatively simple, and you can leverage the document you already have. Most of the information you need is in your vendor contracts. These contracts typically set out what information the vendor has, how they use it, and where it goes. You will review these documents, and other things like Data Privacy Agreements, to determine how personal information you have is captured, stored and processed.

Moving Beyond a Policy that Sits on a Shelf

Documentation is crucial. Identify and document privacy risks and possible remedies. This not only demonstrates transparency but also showcases your commitment to privacy-conscious design. Privacy policies should be dynamic documents, not static shelf-fillers. Highlight how your business handles information, especially in terms of hosts and customers. Customers value transparency. A good privacy policy demonstrates accountability, strengthening their trust.

Personal Information


Privacy is non-negotiable. By adopting a customer-centric approach and crafting transparent privacy policies, you not only enhance compliance but also foster trust and loyalty. Remember, your privacy policy should be a reflection of your commitment to both your customers and your business’s brand.


Helpful resources

Cisco study on customer interest in privacy policies.
Summaries of most global privacy and security policies.

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