Five Minutes With Steve Coplan, Sr. Director of Product and Solution Marketing at BigID

June 9, 2020

Last week Privitar and BigID announced a new partnership and integration focused on achieving greater value and faster insights from sensitive data. We had the opportunity to catch up with Steve Coplan, Sr. Director of Product and Solution Marketing at BigID to discuss the partnership, hear his thoughts on challenges facing the financial services industry, as well his thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on the data privacy landscape. The transcript of that conversation follows:


BigID and Privitar just announced a new partnership and integration with Privitar. Can you tell me more about that? 

SC: This partnership is the outcome of our mutual customers bringing us together to constructively address one of the core challenges to their key business initiatives. BigID pioneered the ability to discover and classify personal data, based on not just what data it is, but also whose data it is. Privitar has led in helping enterprises better enforce how that personal data is utilized and protected through a set of sophisticated policies. So, at a high level, customers saw the neat fit between knowing your data for privacy, and knowing what you can – or should not – do with that data for privacy-aware analytics.

This value proposition has gained more resonance as enterprises realize that solving for privacy translates into more productive data analytics initiatives. And, more broadly, that a more automated approach to managing privacy risks means that they can better understand their customers while still maintaining their trust and accountability for how they generate those insights. 

The initial interest in a product integration from the market was to address specific GDPR concerns about identifying an individual’s sensitive data for de-identification, or risk of re-identification through analytics. Over time we have seen demand broaden significantly beyond those relatively narrow use cases. Now that enterprises see data privacy protection as not just a set of compliance processes, and more as a core tenet of data management and data analytics, we felt it was appropriate to move toward a formalized partnership.  

How will the partnership and integration benefit businesses? 

SC: The integration reduces the amount of manual steps that highly skilled data scientists need to take to create safe, privacy-aware pipelines – so they can focus their attention on delivering insights. No more need to manually tag and confer what can be used for what purpose. Through the orchestration of BigID discovery insights and Privitar protection policies, the integration also helps mitigate the risk that personal or sensitive data can be either misused or inadvertently processed for a different purpose of processing than what was originally assigned. 

As the principle of data accountability becomes standard operating procedure, we also anticipate that the combination of our classification, consent correlation and cataloging with the Privitar watermarking capabilities for provenance will support sustainable auditing for our joint customers.

As we continue down the path of integration, we anticipate that the investment we have made in our metadata inventory and metadata exchange will allow customers to leverage Privitar’s extensive data protection and de-identification capabilities to not only automate policy enforcement, but also to explore innovative ways to generate value from their data.   

You’re hosting a webinar with Privitar and AWS on June 11th. What can attendees expect to learn? 

SC: Attendees will get to see the integration to enable cloud analytics on de-identified sensitive data in action – and they’ll see how the integration can facilitate the adoption of innovative and cost effective cloud services while managing data privacy risks. 

AWS has made enormous strides in providing customers cloud-based analytics services running on Lambda, for example, that can reduce the cost and accelerate time to insights. And, AWS has consistently invested in both their platform and tools to ensure that customers can secure their environments and comply with privacy regulations.

The challenge that many companies in regulated industries, like financial services, have faced is in building data pipelines that can allow them to take advantage of cloud services. As two AWS Advanced Partners whose joint customers see AWS as a strategic technology provider, we’ll demonstrate how we can solve for the data privacy risks in an automated, orchestrated and scalable way. 

Are there unique challenges financial organizations face when automating data analytics? What about unique benefits? 

SC: It almost goes without saying that financial services firms are highly regulated and are traditionally more risk averse. Privacy risks can compound some of the lingering operational risks that financial services firms might still see in adopting cloud services. 

But even if financial services firms have been relatively slow to adopt cloud-based services because of regulatory concerns in the past, there is no shortage of competitive pressures. Maintaining customer trust and delivering personalized experiences are key areas where competitive differentiation can play out. 

Finding that balance, and putting the right data at work, effectively, at scale and in accelerated timelines can make the difference. This is where our joint support and integration with AWS services comes into play for delivering value to financial services firms.

Is there anything else that you want to add?

SC: We are all navigating through a major shift across the globe, as we contend with the impact and repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. But what has emerged loud and clear, is that privacy concerns are front and center of any data-driven approach to contain the spread of the virus. 

This is an indication to us that it’s not just compliant use of sensitive data that is going to define the landscape – it is responsible use of the data. We see our partnership with Privitar as fundamental to helping out joint customers achieve that aim.

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