How to make information security your ally in building an effective privacy program

Explore the impact of collaboration between privacy and infosec teams and discover key areas where collaboration is crucial for effective data protection.

Privacy and information security (infosec) teams may operate in different realms, but they share a common objective: safeguarding information

Collaboration between privacy and infosec teams is essential, yet various challenges often complicate it. Medium-sized companies and scaleups face resource limitations, scalability issues, and integration hurdles, while enterprises have to deal with complexity, siloed teams, and change management. 

In this article, we'll explore how you can address and overcome these obstacles through effective collaboration between your privacy and infosec teams. We'll dive into the benefits of having a symbiotic relationship between the two, and the key areas in which you can work together to optimise the effectiveness of your privacy program. Finally, you’ll see how the TrustWorks privacy management platform can enhance your collaboration, backed by our team of privacy, infosec, and IT experts guiding you every step of the way.

This is the second instalment of our series on collaboration in privacy management! Check out our first post for an introduction to the importance of privacy management collaboration.

Benefits of collaboration between privacy and infosec 

While privacy initiatives focus on protecting personal data and ensuring legal compliance, security efforts aim to defend data against unauthorised access and cyber threats. But when they join forces, these teams can experience several advantages:

  • Enhanced compliance: Collaboration ensures that data handling practices align with relevant regulations like GDPR and CCPA, mitigating the risk of legal penalties and reputational harm.
  • Improved risk management: By working together, privacy and infosec can guarantee a comprehensive assessment of privacy and security risks, leading to the development of holistic risk management strategies.
  • Faster incident response: Integrated incident response plans allow for swift and coordinated responses to data breaches, minimising their impact on the organisation.
  • Efficient resource use: Close collaboration enables the sharing of resources and information, optimising the organisation's budget, personnel, and technology investments.
  • Increased trust and customer confidence: Demonstrating a commitment to data privacy and security fosters trust among customers, clients, and partners, bolstering the organisation's reputation.

Where should privacy and infosec collaborate? 

There are several key areas where privacy and infosec can work together to optimise data protection efforts. See how TrustWorks can help your teams establish a solid collaboration framework in these areas too.

1. Building a data map

The data map needs of privacy and infosec teams are slightly different. Privacy teams focus on assessing how data is processed and shared within and outside the organisation, which involves creating Records of Processing Activities (RoPA) and conducting the corresponding Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). On the other hand, infosec teams are tasked with monitoring sensitive information, detecting Shadow IT, and identifying Shadow AI.

With TrustWorks, you gain access to a powerful platform that allows you to streamline data governance and mapping processes, with features like: 

  • Automated data governance and mapping 
  • Detection of Shadow IT and Shadow AI
  • Dual data maps

Creating and maintaining a unified and up-to-date data map is crucial for effective collaboration between privacy and security teams. It forms the bedrock of understanding the organisation’s data landscape, including storage locations and types of data stored. This empowers both teams to implement suitable cybersecurity and privacy measures. 

This collaborative approach was instrumental for Glovo, where the partnership between privacy and infosec was central in constructing a unified data map and addressing challenges like Shadow IT and Shadow AI. Read our Glovo case study to learn more about this impactful collaboration.

2. Responding to compliance requirements

Addressing diverse compliance requirements, including GDPR, CPRA, CCPA, LGPD, HIPAA, and the AI Act, demands a collaborative effort. Privacy and infosec - sometimes cybersecurity, too - must work together to ensure compliance with regulations and state-level privacy statutes

3. Coordinating the implementation of security measures

A good strategy for privacy teams to maximise support for privacy programs is to embed their initiatives within existing security programs like SOC2 and ISO27001, or to follow frameworks like those from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These frameworks cover privacy and security, making it easier for teams to work together towards common goals using the same terms. With everyone on the same page, teams can review policies and strategies together, making sure security measures are put in place smoothly without duplicating efforts.

4. Running vendor assessments

Running vendor assessments together is essential for storing all relevant information about vendors in a centralised location. With easier access and more comprehensive oversight of vendor relationships, teams can make better decisions and enhance their vendor management practices.

TrustWorks offers interoperability functionality, allowing both privacy and infosec teams to work together efficiently during vendor assessments and onboarding processes. Both teams can seamlessly synchronise information and conduct coordinated assessments, ensuring that all necessary data is captured accurately. 

5. Collaborating on breach management and notification

The security team is typically the first to become aware of a breach. However, involving the privacy team is vital in order to comply with data protection regulations (in terms of informing data protection authorities and individuals). Together, they can outline the response process, assign owners for each stage, and define criteria for assessing privacy implications. By planning ahead, these teams can respond swiftly and meet the required obligations during an actual incident.

Integrating Privacy by Design and Security by Design in your privacy program

Combining a Privacy by Design and Security by Design approach in your privacy program offers numerous advantages. Both privacy and infosec teams face challenges in maintaining visibility on ongoing projects. However, by implementing common processes and using tools that enhance visibility, both teams can reap the rewards of improved awareness and responsiveness.

TrustWorks plays a key role in enhancing visibility across all ongoing initiatives for your privacy and infosec teams by connecting to tools used on a daily basis by your Product, Marketing, IT, and Project Management teams. This means you can analyse organisational activities (new projects, feature requests, process changes, etc.) without disturbing stakeholders, as well as provide guidance without slowing the organisation down. 

Additionally, TrustWorks features the Code Scanner and integrates with source code repositories, offering relevant insights related to data protection. This comprehensive approach ensures that both privacy and infosec considerations are integrated seamlessly into the development lifecycle, promoting a culture of proactive data protection.

The impact of privacy and infosec collaboration

Getting your privacy and information security teams to join forces is crucial not only for streamlining and optimising your privacy management, but for building trust among your teams to ensure long-term success. As we conclude our exploration of collaboration between privacy and infosec, we invite you to take the next step toward strengthening your organisation's data protection efforts. 

Working with more than 200 companies, including clients and our community members, we've gathered numerous success stories and best practices for collaboration. It’s clear that collaboration between privacy and infosec teams goes beyond providing a platform. That's why our dedicated consultants, comprising a cross-functional team of privacy, infosec, and IT experts, are here to guide you every step of the way.

Schedule a free consultation with our team today and discover how TrustWorks can help you establish a collaborative framework tailored to your organisation's unique needs. 


Krzysztof Szypillo

CPO & Co-Founder