Does Your Association Need a Chief Privacy Officer?

According to a new study by Gartner, many organizations are struggling to take a focused approach to privacy issues. One of its researchers says the best way to handle it is to have one person in charge.

Are organizations doing enough to keep the important things under wraps?

According to a new survey from the research firm Gartner, many organizations are feeling a little shaky on the privacy front of late. While nearly half of organizations have a privacy management program of some kind, the survey found, some do little to nothing to address privacy concerns.

More highlights from the study below:

The highlights: While privacy management is a priority for 43 percent of organizations, around 7 percent do the bare minimum to deal with privacy issues. Many companies that Gartner surveyed do not consider how privacy might impact a project. Since 2011, focus on privacy issues has actually decreased, with many companies saying their programs are less mature than they once were. The study, which gathered responses from 221 organizations in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, also found that even while respondents are reporting issues with maturity, they’re beefing up staffs: 32 percent said they added privacy-related staff between 2012 and 2013, the largest increase Gartner has seen since launching its privacy surveys in 2008.

Put one person in charge: Gartner’s research vice president, Carsten Casper, recommendes a top-down approach led by a leader focused on privacy issues with  broad expertise in the subject. (Did someone say “chief privacy officer”?)

“Gartner’s consistent observation is that privacy programs are only successful if someone is driving them. Almost 90 percent of organizations now have at least one person responsible for privacy. However, having privacy programs that are owned by this individual is still not the norm,” Casper said. “Only 66 percent of survey respondents said they have a defined privacy officer role—although the number is as high as 85 percent in Germany and similar countries where this role is a legal requirement.”

Gartner will further analyze this issue at its Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, which takes place November 10-14 in Barcelona, Spain.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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