Last week, consumer credit reporting giant Equifax announced that the private information of more than 143 million Americans had been leaked as the result of a massive data breach. The mishap reignited discussions in the public and governmental spheres on what businesses should be doing to protect customers in the digital age. In 2016, hackers executed nearly 1,100 large-scale breaches and made off with more than 36 million sensitive files, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. The year-end breach figures for this year are likely to be worse, as cybercriminals continue to hone their methods.
With this in mind, many organizations are starting to take action. Most are bolstering their information technology teams and working with vendors to establish stronger virtual defenses. Others are even establishing enterprise-wide customer privacy protection initiatives overseen by C-suite leaders with the title Chief Privacy Officer, Fast Company reported.
"We're seeing clearly significant challenges around maintaining privacy, both of customers and of employees," Art Mazor, principal for human capital at Deloitte, told the publication. "We're finding companies are looking to emphasize the importance of those roles."
Understanding the position
What exactly do these innovative executives do? The CPO role has two distinct components. The first is internal data management. These leaders work with cross-functional executors to design and deploy effective information management programs that keep customer and worker data safe. The second component is public relations. When organizations suffer data breaches, no matter the scale, consumers often react with derision. The CPO develops outreach mechanisms that can reliably calm consumers in the event of a leak and keep them sated as technical specialists work to resecure their information.
"Hackers executed nearly 1,100 large-scale breaches and made off with more than 36 million sensitive files in 2016."
Understanding the skill set
Companies looking to create and fill this role should look for candidates with fairly strong technical skills, as well as exceptional communication competencies, according to TechTarget. Additionally, professionals being considered for the position of CPO must have knowledge of national and international privacy laws. These statutes dictate information security program design and are therefore essential.
Finding the RIGHT person
As hackers create more advanced tools and data-backed processes become more ubiquitous across multiple sectors, businesses must develop airtight consumer and employee privacy protections, and that involves bringing in leaders with the skills and executive experience needed to manage such efforts. Is your firm prepared to make this move and avoid overseeing an Equifax-scale data disaster? Connect with YES Partners. Our executive recruitment consultants can help you pinpoint ideal candidates for the role of CPO.
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