Interview with Data Management professional – Sowmya Kandregula

When we don't hide our IP address, we're probably revealing more than we realize, allowing other parties to control our online experience.

The Association for Data and Cyber Governance

Our latest interview is with Sowmya Kandregula, a seasoned Data Management professional with over 14 years of experience. He advocates about the growing set of data demands including a changing landscape of privacy laws increased movement of data onto the cloud, and a greater dependency on quality governed data for machine learning and AI solutions. And surprisingly, he got our attention. Here’s what Sowmya had to say…

Can you shortly introduce yourself?

Sowmya KandregulaI’ve been working in the Data Management space for more than 14 years focusing on Data Privacy, Data Governance, Regulatory Compliance, Metadata Management and Master Data Management. I’ve built Governance and Privacy practices for the top 20 fortune 500 firms in the Banking, Finance, Media and Telecom industries.

I advocate on the growing set of data demands including a changing landscape of privacy laws, increased movement of data onto the cloud, and a greater dependency on quality governed data for machine learning and AI solutions. I currently consult for one of the Top Media firms based out of NY to lead their Data Governance practice and an Advisory Board Member at The Association for Data and Cyber Governance.

What do you see as the main challenges for our privacy today?

The COVID-19 crisis has significantly changed the approach and working style of many businesses. And the economic fallout from social distancing has shut many businesses down completely. To top it all off, data privacy laws create extra pressure and cost. Should there be relaxations or changes in privacy regulations like the CCPA or GDPR to help reinvigorate floundering businesses across the globe? Perhaps, but in the meantime, organizations should be prepared to answer these questions:

  • What data is being collected?
  • How and where is data stored?
  • With whom is data shared?
  • Where will data processing take place?
  • Number of open vulnerabilities
  • Human errors

Privacy laws aren’t going anywhere, and enterprises should do their best to follow those laws when dealing with employees and consumers. Having a robust data privacy framework is the way to deal efficiently with significant data privacy concerns during these testing times. But for those that don’t have such a framework, now is a good time to hire outside help and to take note of points of concern. It’s never too early to start preparing for the next disaster.

What can we as individuals do about it?

The time when personal data could be quietly collected and shared is gone. Today, organizations that store and use financial, health and other personal information must handle that data with respect for its privacy. We as an individual must follow the below to safeguard our data:

  • An individual should know their data. It is essential to know what information about someone is being collected, how it is being used and whether it is being sold to or shared with third parties.
  • Get control over your data stores and backups. An individual must make sure they don’t keep personal data without a defined purpose on an open source. One should restrict and minimize personal data according to its value and risk.
  • Safeguarding against unauthorized access. Implement and strictly maintain the least-privilege principle to ensure that unauthorized users shall not be attempted for suspicious access. And all the devices, computers and network drives should have adequate security controls in place, such as access controls, encryption and antivirus software.

Can VPNs help? Do you use one?

Yes, VPNs will definitely help. I use ExpressVPN to hide my IP and Location.

Our IP address says a lot about us. When we don’t hide our IP address, we’re probably revealing more than we realize about our location, our identity, and our activity, allowing other parties to control our online experience.

What do you do to protect your personal information?

One of the challenges I’ve noticed in the recent past is using Public Wi-Fi. Let’s suppose someone is trying to hack your phone through Wi-Fi with a packet sniffing program. If the Wi-Fi is unsecured, this public Wi-Fi hacker may be able to read your traffic directly. You need to have a preventive mechanism in place by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and a secure VPN server to protect your personal information.

Do you have some other advice for our readers so they could, at least partially, regain their privacy?

Please stay private, defeat censorship, save money, encrypt everything and extend your coverage by having a VPN, review permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions, make sure how organizations are using your data to safeguard your online identity. This shall help you to regain your digital privacy to a better extent.