Privacy As A Business Differentiator

Should you be concerned about maintaining the privacy of the personally identifiable information (PII) with which you’ve been entrusted…from your customers, employees and others…only because of the growing numbers of laws that require you to be concerned?
Do you do nothing with regard to privacy protections if you are not compelled by laws because you want to save the money it would take to put the protections in place?

Consider, what is the value of customer retention and loyalty? What is the value of employee retention?
What is the value of having accurate and good PII to use for your business processing?
Having strong and effective privacy practices in place can be used as a valuable business differentiator.
I discuss this in the next section from my article, “How to Use Privacy as a Business Differentiator” within my September issue of IT Compliance in Realtime Journal.
Download the PDF for a much nicer looking version…

Business Differentiator
Organizations are increasingly, and visibly, waking up to the ways in which privacy can be used as a business differentiator in addition to being good for consumers. I often watch the Sunday morning news programs, and I’ve seen in recent years a growing trend in companies advertising their services as providing their customers with more security for their networks and PII than their competitors. They are making their privacy practices a clear business differentiator.
Consider the following companies and their emphasis on how they protect privacy within recent advertising campaigns:

  • Citigroup–Over the past year or two, Citigroup has showed more than one commercial about their concerns for their customers and how they are doing what they can to prevent identity theft. On July 23, 2008, Keynote Systems named Citigroup as the number one ranked bank with regard to security and privacy practices. Citigroup wasted no time trumpeting this accolade on their Website; look on the left side of the screen on their home page. They also provide additional use of this honor as a business differentiator at and again at Do they see privacy as a business differentiator? Yes, they clearly do.
  • Cisco–I have seen at least three different commercials Cisco has televised, typically during news programs, that focus on privacy and how their customers can rest assured that their PII will be safe in Cisco’s hands. They also have many marketing releases emphasizing privacy, such as the one called “Emerging Issues: Privacy.” Do they see privacy as a business differentiator? Yes, they clearly do.
  • HP–They have very cleverly established themselves as being a company that not only has privacy protections in place but also is so advanced in knowing how to protect privacy that in 2003 they started awarding the HP “Privacy Innovation Award” in partnership with the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Genius! They are basically giving consumers the impression that they know more about privacy than other companies, and as such are in a position to determine who has exemplary privacy practices. Do they see privacy as a business differentiator? Yes, they clearly do.


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