Collaboration in privacy management: benefits, tips and tools to optimise your privacy program

Learn how collaboration among privacy, IT, and security teams drives success in data protection and compliance within a collaborative privacy program.

Embarking on privacy leadership often feels like a solo journey. Many companies skimp on allocating resources to data protection, leaving privacy teams stranded. 

When privacy involves IT dependency, excessive reliance on other departmental information, and poor response rates, it can become a tedious, manual process. However, collaboration in privacy management emerges as a beacon of hope for achieving compliance and operational efficiency. 

This is the first of a series of articles diving into the realm of collaborative privacy programs. In this introduction, we’ll explore the benefits of collaboration in privacy management, the building blocks for a collaborative privacy program, and how you can leverage technology to take your privacy program beyond (non)compliance.

What are the benefits of a collaborative privacy program?

Collaboration in privacy management goes far beyond meeting regulations: it includes setting up sustainable collaboration systems and promoting a Privacy Culture.

Challenges differ among companies, from small tech scaleups to large enterprises, depending on resources, team size, and privacy awareness. However, there are some key benefits to collaboration for any team or organisation.

  • Enhanced operational efficiency: Collaboration among teams enhances workflows by breaking barriers and fostering teamwork, helping privacy teams optimise data protection operations for greater efficiency.
  • Improved risk management: Effective risk management relies on teamwork among all stakeholders, especially privacy, security, and IT teams. By combining their strengths, these teams can more effectively identify and address potential threats, ensuring the safety of sensitive data.
  • Enhanced data visibility and transparency: Effective collaboration provides greater visibility into processes across the organisation. This transparency not only ensures compliance with regulations but also builds trust among your stakeholders.
  • Innovation and adaptability: Privacy teams must adjust to shifting regulations, emerging threats, and evolving technologies. Collaboration encourages the exchange of ideas and best practices, fostering a culture of privacy within the organisation.

Collaboration has a bigger impact across your organisation than you might think. Without it, you’re risking outdated Records of Processing Activities (RoPAs) and a lack of visibility into the data being processed by your organisation, which can ultimately lead to fines and a lack of trust from consumers. 

So, what can you do to ensure that you’re creating the best collaborative environment? 

The building blocks for optimal collaboration in privacy management

When it comes to fostering teamwork across your organisation, it's not just about the formalities—it's about nailing down some key elements that make collaboration click.

  1. Get leadership buy-in

Getting leaders on board is crucial for fostering a collaborative culture around privacy. When leaders prioritise and openly endorse collaboration efforts, the entire organisation understands the importance of working together towards shared privacy goals. 

  1. Establish effective communication channels

Create clear and efficient communication channels and take every opportunity to write and talk about data privacy: celebrate Data Privacy Day, leverage industry or company news related to data privacy issues - the more touchpoints, the better!

  1. Assign privacy champions

Designating team members as privacy champions can help raise awareness of privacy matters. These champions advocate for privacy principles within their teams, fostering a culture of cooperation and responsibility. 

  1. Provide visibility to stakeholders

Sharing updated and comprehensive resources, like knowledge bases and onboarding materials, ensures that privacy expectations are communicated clearly from the start. This helps new employees get up to speed and empowers existing staff to understand and adhere to privacy policies and best practices. 

  1. Showcase the value of privacy collaboration

By regularly illustrating how collaboration enhances efficiency, reduces risks, and boosts overall organisational performance, stakeholders are more likely to actively engage in your privacy management efforts.

Insights from the TrustWorks community

In our discussions within the TrustWorks community, we've discovered practical strategies for improving collaboration around privacy. These insights come from real-world experiences of more than two hundred privacy leaders and address the challenges faced by privacy teams in different organisations.

--> Efficient data mapping

Collaborating efficiently with IT, Governance, and Information Security teams is crucial for building an effective privacy program. By creating a data map that spans seamlessly across departments, organisations can gain a clearer view of data flows and potential vulnerabilities.

--> Streamlined vendor onboarding and assessments

The TrustWorks community has shared tips for streamlining vendor onboarding procedures and conducting assessments effectively. By implementing efficient workflows and leveraging technology, organisations can ensure that vendors meet their privacy requirements without causing unnecessary delays.

--> Implementation of Privacy-By-Design principles

One key takeaway from the TrustWorks community is the importance of implementing Privacy-By-Design principles. By integrating privacy considerations into the design and development of products and services, organisations can minimise compliance risks and build trust with customers.Want to participate in these discussions? Join the TrustWorks community for insights and support on your privacy management journey. 

Leveraging technology for privacy collaboration

While privacy management platforms are crucial for ensuring compliance, they often prioritise meeting regulatory requirements over promoting collaboration. However, choosing the right privacy management software can greatly improve collaboration within privacy programs.

  • Integration with existing tools and processes: When selecting privacy management software, organisations should prioritise platforms that seamlessly integrate their existing tools and processes, from communication tools to specialised programs. This ensures minimal disruption to workflows and facilitates collaboration across departments.
  • Compliance with different privacy laws and regulations: A robust platform should be able to adapt to the diverse privacy requirements of different regions and industries. Whether it's GDPR, CCPA, or upcoming regulations, the platform should offer flexible solutions to address compliance challenges.
  • Proactive support and best practices: A comprehensive privacy management platform goes beyond mere software functionality by offering proactive support and sharing best practices. This includes providing timely guidance, updates on industry standards, and access to a dedicated support team. 

In addition to offering software solutions, TrustWorks provides hands-on support and practical advice to help organisations maximise their privacy management platform. This includes templates, ready-made workflows, and ongoing guidance from privacy experts.Is your privacy team looking to build a more collaborative privacy program? Sign up for the TrustWorks platform today and transform your privacy program into a collaborative tour de force.

Uniting forces for collaborative privacy management

As we wrap up our first look into the power of collaboration in privacy management, it’s clear that teamwork isn’t just a nice-to-have - it’s a necessity. By embracing collaboration through the initiatives mentioned above, organisations can completely transform their approach to data protection. This is just the beginning of our exploration into privacy collaboration. Stay tuned for the next instalment in our series, and sign up for our newsletter


Krzysztof Szypillo

CPO & Co-Founder