March 18th 2020 – By Dan Welberry

The great data conflict: How to juggle securing, protecting and exploiting value in data

One of the biggest challenges around organisational data is that there isn’t a common understanding of what data actually is, or what it should be used for.

Organisations can find it hard to see the strategic value of data when the conversation is dominated by privacy and security – it’s still about risk, and that’s where the budget comes from.

These organisations don’t know what to do with data because they don’t know what questions to ask to get the answers they need – they don’t even realise it could be an asset.

“My bank is doing what banks do – looking at where it makes sense to use data safely but not necessarily competing on data. Privacy is high on the board’s agenda, but not data,” said the European Data Privacy Officer for a bank specialising in wholesale assets.

On the other side, those who work in data-centric organisations take a different view. The global VP Engineering & IT for a company in charge of £2bn in customer data said, “I have different issues. The challenge from our board is how do we use the asset we have as much as possible? How do we drive and empower the insights of our clients, so they know the next best step to take?” And yet his concern is that the data could be over-indexed so that the ethics of how it’s used are called into question.

This is part of the issue that causes such a headache for businesses trying to balance the data value /risk equation – what we are calling the great data conflict. On the one hand there’s the CISO, whose objective it is to lock down and secure the organisation from threats. While at the same time the CIO may be trying to make data available in order to uncover business value or deliver digital transformation. And the DPO is trying to put in place policies that protect data.

So there’s a conflict around securing, protecting and using data.

In this report we examine how CISOs, CIOs and data governance specialists in leading UK companies see the issues and their recommendations for overcoming the challenges.

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