By @SimonCocking. Cyber and data security insights with Marc R Gagné MAPP Senior Privacy and Data Advocate, Cyber Intelligence and Director @ Gagne Legal

What is your background briefly?

I am a father of six boys therefore managing information is a requirement. I am a Privacy and Data Security Advocate living in Ottawa, Canada. For approximately two decades, I’ve been dedicated to providing policy advice for government and corporate clients alike. I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors of the Privacy and Access Council of Canada since 2010 and a Member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Additionally, I hold a membership with the Compliance, Governance & Oversight Council, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

How did you end up doing what you do now?

Ever since I received my first computer (TRS80) , I’ve always been very interested in data governance and privacy issues, and began my quest for the balance between functionality and privacy. I was intrigued by the emerging tech in contemporary society, and that motivated me to go into a career around data privacy.

1 min pitch for what you do / what’s a typical day like?

I meet with stakeholders on issues of data protection, privacy, digital transformation, and records management. Our discussions involve anything from cyber security threat modeling, information security, risk management, to building consensus around ways in which program privacy and data security can be enhanced.

Congrats on being ranked on the Onalytica list – where did it all go right?

I think it’s a combination of motivation, hard work, and the people I have around me. The people in my field are very informative, conscientious, and have helped establish a great quorum of progress.

What trends are you excited / concerned about in relation to the work you do at the moment?

The emerging trends in this field increasingly have to do with internet of things and the lack of standardization for transmission and security and possible use for surveillance by government. The emergence of smart city project without the proper governance or oversight, will give rise to the tattle tale garbage bin. Recently we’ve seen hacks that strike at the core of our infrastructure, for example the power grid in Ukraine. The IOT is always at risk of being exposed, and we have to think seriously about how we can prevent these issues going forward.

What advice would you give to companies and individuals in terms of managing their data securely?

The best piece of advice, is to approach the emerging trends, BigData analytics and IOT, slowly and cautiously. Some corporations and governments are rushing into projects without the proper resources in place and without understanding the full extent of the data collected, possible use or the accumulation of dark data and overall implications.

Is Ottawa a great place for Tech? Why?

It is. It’s a vibrant community with cutting edge ideas that is constantly pushing the boundaries of our knowledge and capabilities vis a vis data privacy.

Who do you follow for your inspiration and insights?

I listen to the people around me. Wisdom can be found anywhere. Growth begins at the edge of your comfort zone, and only by pushing your boundaries will you know where your boundaries lie.

We can be online 24/7, how do you manage your work life balance?

The easiest way to keep a good work life balance for me is to ensure that time with family is as important as work time. I have six boys who keep me grounded and living in the moment versus the ever consuming demands of the virtual world.


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