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Transformer

Issue 11 2017

Protect your secret sauce

Apart from being famous as the home of TV news network CNN and Delta Airlines, and the host city of last year’s Microsoft Ignite event, Atlanta, Georgia was also the birthplace of Coca Cola. Created in 1886, a key factor in Coca Cola’s marketing success in the early days was the fact that no one knew the actual ingredients that gave it its distinctive taste. In fact, Coca Cola’s recipe has long been a closely guarded secret and one that has given it a competitive advantage, which has been successfully leveraged to become one of the most well-known brands across the globe today.

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While the dynamics of business may have changed massively since the 1880s, companies today still rely on their own secret sauces for success. The essence of today’s secret sauce is often found in the confidential data an organisation holds, such as intellectual property, market intelligence, as well as personal information about customers, employees and partners. This sensitive data is often found circulating throughout the organisation, being utilised and updated by employees. With this free-flowing of information come three key challenges – keeping it secure; maintaining the privacy of personal details held; and, a complex regulatory landscape.

Findings from the Breach Level Index, note there were 974 publicly disclosed data breaches of organisations, which led to the successful theft or loss of 554 million data records in the first half of 2016 alone. That’s 3.04 million records compromised every day.

Data governance is undoubtedly an area of growing importance for every organisation. And in South Africa, the creation of the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act and subsequent hiring of the Information Regulator are acting as a catalyst for organisations to ensure they have taken appropriate precautions.

In this issue of Transformer, we look at the key issues around this subject matter, including corporate responsibilities for data governance and compliance within an organisation, and the role of the chief digital officer. It’s clear that there’s no single approach adopted by all organisations and the wide spread of data throughout an organisation means it needs the involvement of a broad range of key players. In your discussions with your non-technology colleagues about this subject, there may be merit in sharing this publication. I hope you, and your colleagues, enjoy the articles in this edition and find the content useful and insightful.

Enjoy the read.



Ulrike Weitz
Editor
uweitz@microsoft.com


Ulrike Weitz
Editor

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