The Balance Between Privacy and Profits in Business

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http://i0.wp.com/blog.zintro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/12065642971659328437sarxos_Simple_Folder_Documents.svg_.med_2.pngA recent post on the Internal Auditor website discusses how companies may be missing out on big opportunities for growth because of their fear of privacy issues associated with big data. According to writer Norman Marks, a former chief audit executive, businesses must navigate the line between keeping information about employees and customers private and taking advantage of opportunities to “drive revenues, improve customer relationships and satisfaction, and minimize cost.” Ester Horowitz, an interim compliance officer in the healthcare space, is an expert on the subject matter of identity theft, privacy, and fraud. She discusses the ways in which risk and assurance practitioners are responding to privacy concerns. “The steps to compliance are akin to the steps that successful companies take to grow successfully,” says Horowitz. “They go hand-in-glove. Most people responsible for complying with laws involving privacy, fraud, or other legislation generally view the role as the cost to do business and the ability to save money. Most BODs and C-suite feel the same way. I do not.” How is Horowitz’s point of view different from those of other executives?  “The steps to complying with the law when used as part of the strategic planning of an organization’s growth are actually catalysts that encourage growth not simply for the cost to do business,” she explains.  “It’s a matter or recognizing which mindset you are operating from.” As businesses navigate the line between regulation breaches and driving revenues, they must define the role of risk analysis in decision-making. Horowitz says, “When following the flow of information to determine risk to an organization, the mapping brings out hidden treasures the organization may not have realized it had, or had not considered using in their growth plans. I’ve had that occur more than once. I am easily able to recognize it because I have a growth and business mindset, and over the years compliance was a part of the requisite to building. It just so happens that the compliance side grew more in the last 5 years than the growth side, and I was good at both.”

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