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Insight

Digital Policy: Stopping Your Organization from Failing

Stand up a functional policy program to align your organization to individual accountabilities for digital. In doing so, you can stop your organization from failing and begin to celebrate online integrity of your digital operations.

By
Kristina Podnar
,
on
May 15, 2017

If your organization is like the majority of companies operating online today, you probably have a small number of digital policies and a decent number of digital teams. Your policies might include a privacy statement in the footer of your website — perhaps a term of use. Your teams operate in their own structural silos. These employees might be working on one of your many websites or microsites, social media, mobile applications, email campaigns, mobile applications, or customer relationship platforms. Does this sound familiar?

What this approach lacks is a coordinated effort to address policies across all of those teams and channels. At the very least, this can bring harm to your brand and, at the worst, will result in lawsuits or regulatory fines.

Why does this matter? We live in a digital world that is increasingly regulated, and your organization is accountable for complying with a slew of requirements, such as:

  1. accessibility
  2. anti-spam laws
  3. branding
  4. children’s privacy (example: COPPA)
  5. cookies and tracking
  6. copyright protection, intellectual
  7. data breach notification
  8. data encryption and transfer, data localization
  9. data privacy, and protection of personally identifiable information and health information
  10. digital records management
  11. digital rights management
  12. domain names, email addresses, and social media accounts
  13. language and content localization
  14. online advertising and promotion
  15. shareholder notification
  16. social media (personal and corporate)

Don’t know what these are? Haven’t considered them as part of your core business risk? Feel like you are behind in policies before you have even started? These are signs that you should have:

  1. a digital policy steward, and
  2. a digital policy program.

Neither are difficult, but both are necessary.

Your digital policy steward

A digital policy steward is an individual within your organization who ought to be accountable for identifying the entire range of digital policies the organization should have. The list above is a quick-start checklist, but there are more. Policies vary based on your sector, industry, digital channels and platforms, and your organization’s tolerance for risk.

Your digital policy program

Your digital policy program should be stood up and operated by the digital policy steward. The policy program is a straightforward effort of managing digital policies throughout their lifecycle:

  1. Identification and gap analysis
  2.  Definition and implementation
  3. Compliance measurement and remediation
  4. Maintenance

Many organizations struggle with digital policies and continue to fail for two main reasons. First, this area is seemingly complex. Second, aligning the whole organization towards a common risk-benefit based goal can be difficult. In reality, policies are straight forward and a basic part of operating a business — just like paying taxes, ensuring only employees and authorized personnel are allowed into your

By standing up a functional program to align your organization you can ensure individual accountabilities for policies. In doing so, you can stop your organization from failing and begin to celebrate online integrity of your digital operations.

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