Research

Privacy top of mind for IT leaders

Cybersecurity

February 4, 2020
·
3
min read
An illustration of an hospital getting protected with a shield.

A legislative intervention now appears overdue to many in IT, particularly with the most recent revelation that Google, along with business partner Ascension, may have transferred up to 50 million records without the consent or knowledge of the patients.

Rarely a month goes by without fresh allegations against the tech giants for breaches against customer privacy. Whether it be IT leaders in healthcare, public sector or banking, privacy appears to be top of mind as further breaches occur.

This broader concern also has a cascade effect onto the products that social media giants are hoping to roll out for businesses. In a recent poll by over 100 Pulse-verified members, 63% of IT execs polled said they had lost confidence in Workplace, an online collaboration tool, as a result of the data breaches by Facebook.

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Most leaders remain concerned of the misuse of data, especially when it involves sensitive customer information.

One such leader is Anshul Pande, CTO of Stanford Children’s Hospital, who told Pulse Q&A that more work needs to be done, especially to protect patient privacy.

“I can’t even fathom how much time and energy we spend to ensure that our data is safe and secure and that our patients privacy is maintained,” Pande said.

“We aren’t quite there as Europe with the GDPR…There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done from a legislative perspective.”

Protection of sensitive data, however, comes at a cost at times as it may encroach on the patient’s right to access their own records. It’s this natural tension that’s at the heart of many decisions within many teams.

What makes this tension more acute is the lack of legislative clarity on privacy in the US. “We aren’t quite there as Europe with the GDPR,” Pande opined. “There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done from a legislative perspective, as well as creating policies and procedures to ensure that those two things can coexist safely. I think we still haven’t created rules around the secondary and tertiary usage of data.”

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For leaders like Pande, the whole concept of being able to hide your entire identity online just doesn’t exist and may take more time for the appropriate rules to add to the current HIPAA framework.

A legislative intervention now appears overdue to many in IT, particularly with the most recent revelation that Google, along with business partner Ascension, may have transferred up to 50 million records without the consent or knowledge of the patients.

The effects can be jarring and — as suggested by leaders in the IT community — can be an important enough a consideration to bring about new change in how we view privacy and confidentiality.

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