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A Guide to Data Privacy for Business and IT Executives

Understanding how to protect information and preserve data privacy.

As enterprise file sharing and collaboration tools become more widely used, it becomes increasingly important to understand how to protect information and preserve data privacy.

Do you lie awake at night wondering if your company is doing all it can regarding data privacy? You probably should. Almost daily, the news media reports another privacy breach, and it is hard to escape it as a persistent problem in our information economy. Stories about the privacy foibles of major companies grace the covers of newspapers and magazines. We witness a continuous stream of regulatory fine and sanction announcements and breach notifications. We see organizations singled out in news stories and blog posts and on talk shows for bad privacy practices.

New reports of the dangers of sharing information are often quickly followed by privacy advocates and legislators seeking new protections. As the volume of privacy lapses increases so does the clamor for more regulations, more fines, and more sanctions.

Ultimately, privacy is not just about regulatory compliance; it's about understanding the societal and cultural norms regarding information. We know when we feel violated when trust has been broken. In order to succeed, organizations must understand what society deems appropriate.

As technology progresses, it often conflicts with social norms, either as a result of a technology's non-compliance with existing norms or a lack of analogous norms to fit the way society uses a new technology. While certain segments of society can be empowered by the introduction of a new technology, others may find the same technology discomforting or disturbing. Still others may find unintended uses for the technology, uses that leave people feeling violated.