Information security in market research with Monica Bush

Monica Bush, the Vice President of InfoMormation Security and Chief Information Security Officer at Tango, a leading incentives and payment company specializing in payment and reward delivery technology, joined our podcast in February. During the episode Monica said she was “really energized to explore some intersections between security, privacy and market research…and guide your audience through a thought provoking journey, drawing the parallel between the protections during the life cycle and how data is used in market research and something as ubiquitous as the lifetime cost of plastic use and disposal.”


She said it is about “asking what's the true obligation of protecting data through its entire life cycle abuse. This concept, we refer to it as protection or defense in depth and it's really critical in our digital age, especially for market research. And it's not just about safeguarding data at one point of time and use, but really thinking about the confidentiality and the integrity of the data every step of the way. The emphasis on privacy in market research really gained momentum with the deprecation of the third-party cookies and people started talking more about data security and privacy and market research and information security.” She talks with us about how the demise of the cookies has helped accelerate innovation, in part because of an increased focus on being respectful of privacy and consumer data.

Monica’s expertise in information security about the protection of data through its life cycle and use, which feeds into the theme of data privacy. She shares a little more about her background, which is rich and varied, with her career taking some unexpected turns which landed her in privacy and security. At Tango, she found a unique intersection between her expertise and the world of financial technology. She says the market research industry is “not much different from an information security perspective because we really just care about protecting the data all along the way…The main difference is the volume of data and the scale at which data is being collected…and also the types of data as there are more attributes collected.” 

We went on to more deeply explore the depth and breadth of data protection in the world of market research. Here she goes back to her original analogy of protecting data being like protecting the usage of plastic. She says, “The plastic is cheap. If you're a single-use consumer of it, we don’t necessarily think about the full cost accumulated from cradle to grave or creation to destruction of plastic. And most people don't think about the impact associated with the use, the waste, the disposal, the recycling and the clean up. And likewise with data. Data considered valuable to exploit is an inexpensive source of information for primary or secondary marketing insights. And maybe as organizations use this data, they don't think about the full cost across the creation to destruction of handling this information.

Monica covers in-depth the costs of data, and dives further into the analogy, exploring some horrible warnings in the failure of protecting data throughout its life cycle “because we seem to learn very well from horrible warnings.” Using a few real-world examples of the costs of data breaches, she brings this concept to life for listeners. We also cover data protection, failures in storage and disposal of the data with some more examples from her own experiences. 

We also talk about how to reduce these kinds of risks and failures, including things like diligence when sharing data with third parties, performing vendor security reviews and focusing on consent and compliance with privacy laws throughout the data lifecycle. Monica also covers how to retain and store data, manage data quality and integrity and provides specific advice for market researchers. She advises on the importance of having a thorough understanding of data risks throughout the lifecycle and to implement risk mitigation strategies

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