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How To: Your Firm's Data Privacy Plan

In today’s legal world, data is king. With high-profile privacy lawsuits in the daily legal news spotlight, an ever-increasing number of countries and US states are adopting privacy integrity laws. The repercussions of companies not complying with privacy laws are becoming more and more clear. California’s Consumer Protect Act (CCPA) currently affects 500,000+ companies. And, the EU has seen nearly half of a billion dollars worth of fines issued for those in violation of the GDPR. 

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How To: Your Firm's Data Privacy Plan

Breach Consequences: Beyond Fines

Firms in violation of privacy laws see other types of damage besides fines. Their reputation and overall client trust suffers and causes irreparable damage to the organization over time.  Moreover, firms are faced with deciding between “doing the right thing” by complying with the law, or finding the budget and resources needed to follow the new regulations entirely.

Choosing the Right Privacy Solutions

To be compliant and efficient in your efforts, every firm must incorporate ongoing privacy work in their daily workflow, apart from business strategy and budgeting. These efforts must have the full support of partners as well. 

Since regulations such as CCPA and GDPR are quite new, the way in which firms tackle data security varies. There is not yet a standard approach to privacy compliance and maintenance, and solutions differ depending on the structure, risk-aversiveness, and business plan of your firm. 

Several CCPA provisions and data privacy legislations have yet to be clarified. It is not a good idea to wait and see the progression of these clarifications, however. This leaves your firm vulnerable to fines and other post-enforcement punishments. Because data privacy lawyers are in demand, waiting to hire the help you need in order to create your privacy plan would not be beneficial in the long run.  

Why is it essential to set up a privacy plan? 

Building a strategic and all-encompassing data privacy program means understanding the gravity of the legislation and using the opportunity to become a business leader within your firm.

Running a competent privacy program includes both understanding the nuances of privacy principles and working within the structure you’ve created. You can use your own ideas on your approach, but this is an opportunity to distinguish your firm from others.

A winning privacy program needs leadership buy-in and the overall belief in the importance of an ethical approach.

How to build a Flexible Privacy Plan? 

Here are a few guidelines in creating and managing a robust privacy operation across multiple departments:

  • Take Privacy To All Departments
  • Privacy functionality depends on effective and transparent communication between departments. 
  • Identify the stakeholders in your firm who may work within current privacy efforts. 
  • Construct a Buy-In Leadership Base
  • Identify quick wins, provide training and properly communicate about strategy to keep your supporters in the loop.
  • Find a way to maintain this open channel with your supporters.
  • Provide leadership and company-all hands meetings to keep everyone up-to-date on progressions.
  • Create FAQs, and contact points within your privacy taskforce. Allow for other departments to sit-in or attend a workshop. 
  • Form a Privacy Team with an equal blend of legal, business, and operation experts
  • Project manage; outline goals, create and stick to deadlines, and assign responsibility. 
  • Construct a coordinated workflow that ensures business growth and maintains integrity. 
  • Continue to Evaluate Your Privacy Program as Laws Change.

Data privacy compliance is ever-changing, but every firm should take the first step to forming a privacy plan as soon as they can. 

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