Diana Kelly Levey

The Human Capital Impact of Privacy and GDPR

January 21, 2017 | Categories:

Data Governance, Cyber Risk, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy have all become major buzzwords across organizations, and for good reason. In the wake of data breaches that hit huge companies like Facebook, Marriott, Under Armour, Best Buy, and even Equifax over the past two years, you would d be pretty lucky if your personal information was not compromised in one of these incidents. For many organizations, it can seem like only a matter of time before their security is compromised and their customer’s data leaked. In fact, a recent survey published by PwC Global found that 40 percent of CEOs said they were “extremely concerned” about cyber threats in 2018, up 16 percent from the year before.

It is time to hire talent that can do their best to protect your company and know how to prepare for the worst. Smart CEOs and boards know that cybersecurity is not just an IT issue. This is where Caldwell’s consultants can be of service—we help clients learn best practices when forming a team in the data space, walk you through a Competitor Org Chart and offer expert guidance on hiring.

As the world moves into this new phase of cyber risk and data protection regulations, our clients are taking a proactive approach in managing these risks. Caldwell can help you navigate the hiring process as well as show you how to create an office environment that’s appealing to this highly sought-after talent pool. We will help oversee the process with outside-the-box solutions when it appears like the talent pool is extremely limited or doesn’t yet exist. We will help you identify what you need to know when it comes to hiring in the data science field and how we can help you navigate the experience.

What to Know about Hiring in the Data Science Field

Remember, Data Is a Good Thing

If you’re using your customers’ information and feedback correctly, having their data can do impressive things for your company’s marketing and behavioral analytics initiatives. Big data also helps your company improve its strategies to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. Consumer data in itself is big business and protecting it should be one of your business’s highest priorities. Whether you are using customer service feedback to improve products and services; noting the questions asked to better help address any concerns with marketing and content strategies; or learning about specific demographics and behavioral data to streamline efforts for future opportunities, data will help you be in-the-know with your consumers’ needs and preferences. Using this information will give you a leg up on the competition. There is groundbreaking work being done in data analytics and using this data benefits existing customers as well as drives new business.


Customers Have a Right to Know How Their Data Is Used

While data technology advances are great for businesses, customers want to know how their data is being used, where it’s being stored, who has access to it and how are they using it. Whether you’re acquiring consumer data through activity on your website, social media pages, customer service, or third-party sources, there’s a lot of information gathering taking place and security needs to be locked down in your organization.


As it stands today, there hasn’t been the post-breach consumer uprising you would expect to motivate a company to change how they handle data. What’s more likely is that federal regulation will impose a punishment for companies using data unethically or irresponsibly. Intuitively, G.D.P.R.-like requirements are being drafted at the state level in multiple jurisdictions, with possible enactment in 2019. The lead in the United States is being taken by California and its privacy bill which appears to be modeled after Europe’s G.D.P.R. The California law gives consumers more control over and insights into the spread of their personal information online. It provides consumers with the right to know what information companies are collecting about them, why they are collecting that data and with whom they are sharing it, according to a recent article in The New York Times. Consumers can demand that companies delete their information as well as not sell or share their data.


While it may take a bit more effort to have this type of data regulation be a federal mandate, it is good for your business to understand where the future is going with respect to consumers’ concerns over breaches and privacy. We’re not far off from stricter security regulation requirements followed by statutory penalties and class action lawsuits if privacy and security laws aren’t followed. Companies need to ensure they’re initiating privacy and data security compliance right now in order to mitigate risk down the road.

That’s why you need to hire a data talent team.

Why Data Breaches Happen

Prioritize Hiring

The cost of experts in this space has dramatically increased and will continue to increase. Though it’s an expensive endeavor, it is one you should not put off. If you do not invest in the right people for this area and act quickly, that potential employee you were considering is susceptible to being picked off by another firm. Some roles you may consider to better protect your company could be: Information Security Analyst, Chief Data Officer, Data Protection Governance Officer, Digital Risk Officer, Chief of Staff for Security, Data Security Scientist, Security Ombudsman, or a Digital Ecosystem Manager. A representative from Caldwell can describe these roles and help your company identify the role(s) that would suit your business and employees best for the long run.

Information security is a competitive and fast-moving space as companies are working to assemble the right teams to avoid a breach or security disaster. This role touches so many areas of your organization and the right hire can ensure that every facet of your business is locked down and protected as best they can.

Create a Desirable Environment

It’s important to take time and make sure you have an enticing work environment, and that this team will be able to obtain the resources required. The main reason people in information security leave their jobs is because they do not have the support or resources to do their job. That causes personal reputation risk and in a competitive field, there’s no reason to take that on. If you need an outsider’s assessment of your environment, Caldwell consultants can step in and help.


Get Creative with Your Hires

Roles surrounding data, privacy and cybersecurity are all fairly new. You might not be aware of the best positions and experience to search for when considering filling these positions in your organization. Recruiting for these big roles will be different than other hires at your company—whether that’s in data privacy, data governance or information security. It’s important to not just put together a boilerplate job description and try to find the exact person for that role. You need to search for the talent that can reach the potential you want in your company. This takes creativity throughout the hiring process.


Companies need to be open to different types of background and talent. You might need to consider hiring junior lawyers and partnering with outside counsel to help develop and hone the appropriate technical skills while putting a strong internal manager in place and advocating for them to develop specific leadership skills. Look towards technical fields when hiring lawyers, even if they don’t have industry experience. The most obvious legal experience is found with Intellectual Property and Patent attorneys. Another avenue is looking to people with software development backgrounds, prior to becoming lawyers. Not only do they have stronger technical expertise, but they’ll be able to speak with the technology team to create automated programs.


For these roles, intangible skills are almost more important than technical skills, because these people are working across your organization. They are working with the executive team and with Communications and Marketing to solve for a greater problem. When a major breach happens like at those companies we mentioned above, this information security hire needs to explain to executives, board members and the media and public what happened and how the company will resolve this issue. Not every talent will have those communication skills.


These leaders need to be skilled at training large groups since data breaches tend to be a result of employee errors more so than technology getting hacked or compromised. The right data talent will need to train your workforce of what to do, how to do it and what happens if there is a breach. These skills are paramount to this hire’s success within your company.


Weeding Through “Experts” versus Experts

Data science is a new market and people will describe themselves as experts in the field. Be highly discriminating with talent, and work with an outside vendor to fully understand a prospective employee’s experience. Although candidates may have an impressive resume and can seem to speak the tech and IT world language, that does not mean they are the best person for the job. Rely on either outside counsel or search consultants if you don’t have the technical skills in-house to be able to vet their experiences and references that can show how adept this person is in this space.


Use Assessment Tools

Caldwell‘s clients are using assessment tools and evaluating talent in this area where, perhaps, they have not in the past. This is a technical area and using tools can ensure you’re interviewing people that have the skills, behaviors and problem-solving tendencies you’re looking for to mesh within your organization. The right assessment will give you insights as to how this person is going to interact and lead groups of people of varying sizes, particularly large groups if they haven’t done that in the past. This is an effective way to recruit, retain and attract the right talent in this area.


Look Within Your Organization for Talent

Be open to training employees internally. Offer opportunities for certifications or education in this space. Characteristics to look for would include: Someone who has the executive presence to communicate up and manage upward; someone who can take a complicated topic and simplify it; someone who can work seamlessly across the organization; a strong communicator to staff.


Hire Quickly to Protect Your Customers’ Information

It is only a matter of time before your company’s data programs are hacked if you don’t have the right security systems in place. (If it can happen to Facebook, it can happen to your business.) You need the best talent in the information security space in order to protect private information from hackers and breaches.

Caldwell Partners’ executive search teams have niche expertise in the information technology and cybersecurity spheres. We leverage our skills and networks to provide agile talent solutions that not only meet but exceed your company’s needs. Connect with your Caldwell contact or email us ksheridan@caldwellpartners.com to learn more about how our services can help you.

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