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Cyber Tug of War—Win, Lose, or Draw?

The opposing forces of privacy and safety are at it again. This time, it’s Apple v. The Feds—heels in the mud, each hoping for victory. On the sidelines, fans make known their stake in the game. But in this tug of war, maybe the real win is when both sides keep their jerseys clean.

Get Upfront and Personal

Something for nothing; it’s a concept that eludes us all. Relationships require reciprocity, and sometimes, the give and take can be hard to reconcile. This is especially true of business/client relations. From a security angle, how much—protection, data collection—is too much? Not enough? Either way, things get risky, whether hampering business operations, or jeopardizing client privacy.

The safety vs. privacy battle is well-established; the recent Apple/FBI debacle only served to refresh us on the details at play, and exemplify the propensity for polarization. And our collective tangled web of data doesn’t make team effort any easier. Chatting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, TIME interviewers noted the “vast clouds of data which we now generate by virtue of going about our daily business. We’re just sort of spewing out gigabytes of data... to the point where... it changes what privacy means.” Keeping pace with this change now requires that businesses act as better data stewards, instilling trust, and proving reliability‐but how?

Be upfront and personal. Consumers “understand that modern life won’t allow them to be ‘left alone’ and untracked, but they do want to have a say in how their personal information is used.” So share details about standards you follow, and procedures in place to safeguard client data. From being PCI compliant, to “hashing” clients’ PII, passwords and the like, efforts to ease customers’ minds are an all-around win. A healthy level of transparency can serve to justify necessary data collection, while simultaneously addressing client concerns.

It's All In Your Head

Come what may, fine-tuning data management now better prepares companies for future tests of strength and agility. And that’s the crux, because cybersecurity requirements are ever-changing, and a large part of the prep work is in our minds. So while it’s challenging to accept today’s realities—adjust to a new game, new rules—be assured that it’s totally doable. In the ongoing struggle between privacy and safety, it may well be compromise that wins this war.

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