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Privacy Program Management

How to Build, Scale, & Maintain Your Privacy Program 

How does a scalable, well-designed privacy program help solve your compliance challenges? How should you go about building that privacy program? What does efficient privacy program management look like? Find the answers to questions like these and more below.

Privacy Programs 101

Start With the Basics

What Is a Privacy Program? 

As a privacy professional, you might focus your efforts on managing consent for data collection on your website, streamlining the subject rights request workflow, reviewing vendors for privacy risk, and similar privacy and compliance activities.

Is the sum of all of those activities a data privacy program?

Almost, but not quite. 

In reality, a privacy program is the framework through which you find solutions to data privacy problems.

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A Privacy Program Is Your Framework for Finding Solutions 

Taking a framework-based approach still means managing consent, subject rights requests, vendor reviews, and other privacy and compliance activities.

But more importantly, it enables you to engage in all of these activities in a holistic and efficient manner tailored to the unique environment composed of your organization, your industry, and your regulatory landscape. 

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Privacy programs can be complicated—but not if you're equipped with the right knowledge. These resources can teach you about starting your first privacy program or maturing an existing one.

What Is a Privacy Program and How Can You Build One?

If you’re new to privacy or need insight into how to establish a privacy program, start here. 

Learn more

Discover How to Increase Privacy Program Maturity [Guide]

Already know the basics of privacy programs? If you want to learn more about scaling and maturing your program, we have a resource that could help you out.

Learn more
The "Why" of Privacy Programs

Benefits of Privacy Programs

How Does a Privacy Program Benefit Your Organization? 

In effect, your data privacy program is the vehicle you use to drive compliance. In that sense, the benefits of a well-oiled privacy program are the same as compliance overall. Namely: 

  • Strengthening your brand through consumer trust, transparency, and ethical behavior. 
  • Reducing your risk of fines and reputational damage resulting from regulatory penalties. 
  • Reducing your risk of cybersecurity incidents through healthier data processing practices. 

Reduce Risk and Gain Trust

Not having a data privacy program in place raises your risk of more damaging cybersecurity incidents, greater fines and penalties, and less consumer trust—often all at once.

If you suffer a data breach and that breach exposes mountains upon mountains of noncompliant personal data, regulators will hit you with a fine on top of the cost associated directly with the breach, and your consumers will absolutely lose trust as a result. 

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These blogs dive into the benefits that a privacy program has to offer in more detail: 

Establish Total Customer Trust With a Commitment to Data Privacy.

How does committing to data privacy translate to outcomes with your customer base?

Learn more

Privacy Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Evolving. Here’s How to Keep Up.

Consumers still expect control over their data, even if total privacy isn’t possible.

Learn more

What Is a Privacy Notice, and How Does It Protect Your Data?

Learn how privacy notices lie at the heart of reducing risk and securing trust.

Learn more
Potential Obstacles and Solutions

How to Overcome Privacy Program Challenges

Privacy Program Challenges, Pitfalls, and Blocks

Even when an organization claims to have a privacy program in place, often it’s just a single individual managing privacy compliance. It may not even be their full-time role. But if there are all of these benefits to implementing a robust data privacy program, why doesn’t everybody have one? 

There are common challenges, pitfalls, and blocks that privacy professionals and organizational leaders run into when implementing a privacy program.  

  • Pitfalls like: thinking of privacy as a task instead of a process, failing to prioritize compliance activities, or thinking there’s more time to become compliant before local laws kick in. 
  • Challenges like: achieving outcomes with limited resources, overcoming resistance to change, and scaling the program as you grow. 
  • Blockers like: teammates and leaders who are disinterested in, distracted from, or even outright hostile to compliance activities. 

These might seem intimidating at first glance, but once you know the trick to handling them, it’s straightforward to smooth out these bumps on your road to data privacy greatness. The following articles can show you how: 

The 7 Biggest Pitfalls for Modern Privacy Programs

Learn key mistakes to avoid to set yourself and your privacy program up for success.

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9 Challenges Facing Privacy Teams (And How to Solve Them)

Even if you’ve avoided common mistakes in privacy program management, challenges will still rear their heads—find out how to overcome them here.

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Explaining Why Privacy Matters to Your Peers

Data privacy compliance can’t be accomplished in a vacuum; you need the support and collaboration of your colleagues. Find out how to secure that support in this blog.

Learn more
Next steps

Privacy Program Management: How to Be Successful

Expert insights

Key Resources on All Things Privacy

Discover actionable compliance tips straight from our team of legal and privacy experts through our blogs, webinars, eBooks, guides, and more.

Data Privacy Laws (1)

Data Privacy Laws: What You Need to Know in 2023

Read Now
2023 Checklist

Your Action Plan for 2023’s State Data Privacy Laws

Download Now

Why Mailgun switched to Osano

Read Now

Simplify Data Privacy Compliance

With Osano, building, managing, and scaling your privacy program becomes simple. Schedule a demo or try a free 30-day trial today.

Next Steps

Need Help Getting There?

Book a Demo With Our Team

Build a Business Case 

There are plenty of reasons why your organization should want a privacy program. Among the reasons described above, there’s the desire to:  

  • Be compliant with the law. 

  • Avoid penalties and fines. 

  • Build consumer trust.

  • Treat consumer data ethically. 

  • And more. 

Non-privacy experts may be able to see the value of these benefits, but they won’t have as much insight into the reality of data privacy compliance work. This is one of the key factors that leads to a privacy program that’s under-resourced, poorly scoped, and overwhelmed. 

To really persuade and inform business stakeholders about the importance of a data privacy program, it’s essential that you build a business case.   

A business case isn’t just a matter of extolling the benefits of a data privacy program; it’s about assessing costs and benefits, straightforwardly identifying challenges, considering how you’ll overcome them, prioritizing tasks, and making a plan. 

Our blog, Making the Business Case for Your Data Privacy Program, dives into detail on how to approach this crucial task. 

Know What Capabilities You Need 

Naturally, you’ll make a more compelling case for your privacy program if you know what activities you intend to pursue. Even if your organization has complete buy-in to your privacy program from the jump, you’ll need to identify priorities and key capabilities in order to maximize your compliance outcomes. 

This is easier said than done. Privacy professionals know they need a way to fulfill data subject access requests (DSARs), manage consents, conduct privacy assessments, and other regulatory requirements. What’s more difficult is knowing the specific actions you need to take to enable and operationalize those tasks while maintaining the efficiency of your privacy program as a whole. 

In 16 Elements of a Data Privacy Program, we identify the full spectrum of privacy program elements that allow you to execute on regulatory requirements, administrative tasks, support tasks, and more. 

Plan for Your Privacy Program’s Growth 

Okay, you know how to gain support for your privacy program, you know what you want to do—what’s next? 

Your organization’s data processing activities, structure, strategy, and goals aren’t going to stay the same; your regulatory environment is certain to change as new laws are created and old ones amended; your internal privacy strategy is going to evolve as well. How do you scale and mature your privacy program? 

One way is to think about your privacy program in terms of maturity levels.

Download the infographic below to see an overview of a privacy program’s maturity levels. 

A Privacy Program Maturity Model 

Building, scaling, and maintaining a data privacy program is a lot like data privacy itself: complex, multifaceted, and dynamic. 

Putting all the guidance in this article together is no small feat. So, the team at Osano developed a resource that provides a step-by-step method to mature your privacy program’s operational efficiency over time.  

The Osano Privacy Program Maturity Model gives you a framework to operationalize all of this. It: 

  • Helps you identify your biggest needs.

  • Gives you an objective way to position privacy compliance in your organization.

  • Provides a means of measuring privacy program operational efficiency and build a case for resources and budgeting to leadership.

  • Gives you tangible ways to defend personal information and secure consumer trust. 

Here’s how it works: the Maturity Model provides you with the tools to self-assess various elements of your data privacy program on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 corresponding to less mature and 5 corresponding to more mature. For each element, the model suggests activities and steps you can take to increase your maturity. 

Through this scoring exercise, you can identify priorities, plug gaps, and track growth over time. One excellent use of the Osano Privacy Program Maturity Model is as part of your quarterly, bi-annual, or annual review—you can measure and quantify your progress over time, helping demonstrate growth and return on investment to the rest of your organization. 

Fill out the form to download the Osano Privacy Program Maturity Model and start your privacy program’s journey toward operational excellence. 

Discover Your Privacy Program's Next Steps

Find out where to take your privacy program next—no matter where you are on your data privacy journey.