Your business and the way you use data is likely becoming more complex internally and more connected to others across the Cloud. The onus on you to protect all of this data in your care increases as the data chain itself grows longer and longer. You are responsible for making sure that third-party providers who are involved in this ever-lengthening chain have controls in place to protect the data entrusted to you. Simply put, if you don't take measures to ensure its security, regulators will. And, regardless of whether regulators may be paying attention or not, the risk of your mishandling or misusing personally identifiable information (PII) in a way that will violate your customers' or clients' trust rests on your head every hour of every day. PII is a double-edged sword, and how you wield it makes all of the difference.

"Privacy by Design" is not the latest piece of software, or a two-day class that suddenly makes your organization impervious to damaging claims from outside. It is rather a philosophy that you and your organization's most influential executives must understand, embrace, and sponsor—even mandate—throughout every level of every division of your operation.