AN INTRODUCTION TO OUR INFORMATION STRATEGY & RISK PRACTICE

Overview: Keystone’s Information Strategy and Risk (ISR) practice is working with and advising the world’s largest and most impactful companies on how to design an information strategy that maximizes the value of data while lowering the downside risks. There is unprecedented level of focus and attention on data today. As consumers’ lives get more digitized, every action they take, or fail to take, generates data. While this presents tremendous opportunities for companies and marketers to design data driven products and services, it also significantly elevates the risks associated with inappropriate usage of information. Companies, boards, regulators, and governments are grappling to find the right balance between utility of data and the risks of data use.

Shifting business models: Businesses are rethinking their traditional silo style structures and are digitally transforming into data-centric platform companies with disruptive use cases that deliver value at scale. Our most innovative firms are powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that run sophisticated algorithms on massive volumes of datasets pooled from within and outside the organization, often containing sensitive information. Such algorithms allow firms to mine their vast data sets and rethink value creation and value capture opportunities. Often this would mean entering new lines of businesses not previously possible.

Increasing risks: In the wake of numerous data breaches and leaks, today’s culture has become one that is valuing privacy more so than ever before. Large businesses with significant resources are not insulated and are in fact likely targets of malicious attacks. In recent times companies such as Marriott, Equifax, Yahoo and Target have been breached leading to reputational, financial and litigation related losses. These companies, among others, are being criticized by regulators for not doing enough to protect consumer privacy. Other related phenomena include the rise of fake news, algorithmic biases, and the increased ease of influencing the public for better or worse.

Keystone’s offering: Keystone helps firms develop top down principles to guide company behavior with regard to their usage of consumer information. From the board level down, these principles strike the balance between the value and potential monetization of data with the associated risks. These principles will seek to align companies with the continuously evolving regulations and public perceptions. Lastly, they will position firms in a differentiated light relative to competitors and other players.

To be effective, a firm’s principles will have to be appropriately customized and take a variety of criteria into account:

  • External constraints on a firm’s usage of information (e.g. regulations, public commitments)
  • The business value derived from the information usage
  • Where, within the organization, will be affected by any new implementation
  • How the firm plans to continually audit and ensure compliance with implemented principles/requirements

Keystone works with clients to develop best practices and processes across the entire data lifecycle. In working with clients, it is clear that data sharing and managing third party relationships is one of the biggest risks firms face. Concepts surrounding data ownership and appropriate consent are not well defined and thus very difficult to manage.

Relevant parties: Certain sectors are facing these challenges more imminently and need to develop a strategy to address gaps. These include businesses with a significant online presence, large global footprint, those processing large volumes of sensitive data (PII, medical records, financial records), those supporting critical infrastructure – utilities, transportation, financial markets, and disruptors, etc., and early adopters of emerging technology. Keystone has extensive experience in working with Technology companies under regulatory scrutiny, as well as firms that are a victim to successful malicious attacks and breaches.

Keystone differentiating expert network: The combination of its long tenure working with data-centric companies and its academic experts make Keystone uniquely positioned to work with companies on these particular issues. Our team combines complementary expertise from the leaders in the fields of platform economics, technology and computer science, cybersecurity, AI & Machine Learning, digital privacy, and online advertising. Each of these domains is evolving at an extreme pace, such that no one person or team can stay abreast of all the innovation and shifts across these fields. Keystone’s Information Strategy and Risk practice is structured to bring together a triad of expertise in a coherent team to address the needs of organizations in a holistic fashion.

Select experts involved with Keystone’s ISR practice:

Susan Athey: One of the world’s most preeminent “tech economists” – her research focuses on the economics of digitization, marketplace design, and the intersection of econometrics and machine learning. Susan’s expertise is of particular value in opining on issues such as trade-offs between privacy risks and economic value of data and the importance of data to advertising and platform business models.

David Parkes: Leads research at the nexus between economics and computer science, with a focus on AI/ML, auction design, and digital currency. Brings to bear expertise in advertising technologies and provides insights into emerging thought leadership on privacy in the context of AI/ML.

Michael Kearns: Has worked extensively in quantitative and algorithmic trading and served as an advisor to many technology companies. Michael contributes thought leadership on privacy as it relates to large technology companies, and their underlying data & AI/ML.

Doug Schmidt: Extensive technological research and advisory experience with a comprehensive understanding and ability to communicate technical issues, e.g. infrastructure, storage, security, encryption, etc.