Quality Private Data Training: Course Author Blog

November 10, 2022

Our latest eLearning course has arrived! If you’re keen to learn more about how to protect against the chance of a personal-data breach and/or loss of confidential business-sensitive data, or need to balance the responsibility for protecting privacy and building and maintaining public and consumer trust, the Quality Private Data Course is for you.

Course lead authors Helen Brown and Brent Walker share their inside knowledge from years of working with some of the world’s most complex and sensitive data, steering policy and operationalizing the implementation of governance mechanisms to enable the best use and protection of data.

And we want to say a huge thanks to them for sharing this blog with us.

* This course is offered in partnership with In The Know who are experts in all things Data!

Why did we develop our courses?

Many companies are delivering their desired business outcomes by using data for increasingly sophisticated purposes. At the same time, regulatory requirements to protect data are becoming increasingly stringent. This leaves companies with two requirements:

  1. The need to demonstrate that their governance processes are adequate
  2. To increase staff awareness about their specific responsibilities to use and protect data appropriately.

Traditional privacy courses are often high-level, legally focused, and pitched to cover all issues that a company may face. As a consequence, the course materials are often not sufficiently relatable to the daily circumstance that staff using data find themselves managing.

We set up In the Know as we want companies to be able to make the most effective use of their data while remaining compliant. We recognized three different types of data-using companies that could benefit from our courses:

  1. Companies not making use of potentially valuable data because of overly strict approaches to managing privacy risks
  2. Companies making great use of their data but without properly protecting it from privacy risks
  3. Companies not getting the best value from their data because of the poor application of privacy transformations and controls

We are passionate about people making the most of their data and saw that many companies were struggling to protect their data effectively and needed practical support. Staff using data need to be provided with clear practical guidance on what their responsibilities are. Companies need to know that their data risks are being managed and that they are not at risk of regulatory or contractual action.

Based on our collective real-world experience, we built the Quality Private Data course to bring data teams quickly up to speed on their regulatory responsibilities, and the impact that these policies can have on their data and analysis work.  Our course helps the data privacy experts and data user silos come together with a shared understanding of how best to balance and mitigate privacy and data utility risks and work together more effectively to ensure that data remains private but still can deliver reliable insights to help deliver business benefits.  

Who is this course for?

The course is designed for those using person-level de-identified data for analysis purposes.

It is targeted at data scientists, analysts, statisticians, those using AI/ML, researchers and those responsible for setting up, governing, managing, and working in data processing and analytical environments. The course is applicable across all industry sectors and regulatory regimes.

The course is designed to give data professionals context and confidence when using data. Quality Private Data explains how to balance the competing demands of privacy and analysis of high-utility data to produce quality analysis through the understanding of the risks of identification and loss of data utility, the mitigation of these risks and the balancing of the two competing demands.  

If you’ve got questions about whether this course will be suitable for you, get in touch.

How is the course structured?

The course is presented within its own Learning Management System and is split into five separate modules. Each module contains multi-media interactive content, including a video-based scenario, and there are frequent tests and exercises to test and embed understanding.

  • Module 1 provides the trainee with an overview of data compliance concepts and introduces the two risks (the risk of identification and the risk of loss of data utility)
  • Module 2 then focuses on the causes of the two risks
  • Module 3 describes how the risk of identification can be mitigated
  • Module 4 describes how to mitigate the risk of loss of data utility
  • Module 5 enables the trainee to consider the risks in their local context, and also summarises the key learning points from across the whole course

Each course module concludes with a mandatory 5-question assessment, and the trainee must pass all of them in order to claim a digital badge. The trainee can also access the course and a range of relevant reference resources from within the LMS for the duration of the licence period.

What are the key learning points?

By taking the course you will learn:

  • How to maximise your use of person-level and business-sensitive data in a compliant manner
  • The privacy and compliance requirements for using person-level data which has been de-identified.
  • How to reduce the risk of inappropriate identification when using person-level data which has been de-identified.
  • The application of different anonymization techniques and how they can impact data utility and accuracy.
  • How to investigate how data has been anonymized before carrying out analysis.
  • How to effectively apply data minimization, avoidance of singling-out and other anonymization techniques during the data and analysis life cycle to reduce the risk of identification and obtain the quality analysis.
  • How to act as an advocate for the appropriate use of person-level and business-sensitive data which has been de-identified, to produce privacy-compliant quality analysis.

What will I find most interesting?

Data users will already be experts in their chosen analytical techniques and may also have received mandatory training in information governance or data protection. However, it is unlikely that they will have considered how data privacy controls can impact the quality of data analysis outputs or even that this can occur in the first place. We believe that the course provides the trainee with a new and exciting insight into the risks and their interrelationship to enable them to approach their analysis work with increased confidence and deliver better results for their customers.

What will I find most challenging?

The course is detailed and content-rich, with each module taking 45-60 minutes to complete. We recommend that trainees do not attempt to take the course in one sitting and instead split the training over the course of a few days in order to embed their learning.  Each module contains an assessment which consists of 5 multiple-choice questions, selected randomly from a wider question bank to ensure that different questions are asked on separate attempts. Trainees must pass with a mark of 80% or better on each module assessment to claim their digital badge.

What will I be able to do better after taking this course?

When you have completed this course, you should be able to:

  • Define and describe key privacy and compliance concepts
  • Explain the relationship between data privacy and data utility
  • Associate data risk causes and their effects when analysing person-level data
  • Identify the ways that you may inadvertently identify someone whilst carrying out analysis and create ways of working to minimise that risk
  • Discuss the application of different privacy controls within your data environments
  • Construct and apply data minimization, avoidance of singling-out and other anonymization techniques during the data and analysis life cycle to reduce the risk of identification
  • Differentiate the ways that different de-identification techniques can impact data utility
  • Assess and evaluate the impact of different privacy controls on data utility within your data environments
  • Compose analysis methods and ways of working that maximise the quality of analysis outputs whilst maintaining compliance

What are the benefits of taking this course?

The training can be used as best practice ahead of allowing access to person-level data.

It can also be used as an organizational control which helps reduce the risk of identification whilst also maximizing data utility.

In addition, organizations can expect to deliver the following benefits:

  • Increased ability to generate high-quality analytical outputs whilst maintaining privacy compliance.
  • Increased ability to maximise the use of data-driven insight within your organisation.
  • Increased awareness of how to protect against the chance of a personal data breach and protect against loss of confidential business sensitive data.
  • Increased public and consumer trust that data is being used in a well-informed and private manner.
  • Increased ability to demonstrate regulatory compliance.
  • Increased ability to gain or retain access to appropriate data.

For individuals, the course will help avoid the personal consequences of a data breach, such as disciplinary or regulatory action. But just as importantly, there are also the obvious employability benefits that come with having up-to-date training in effective and compliant data analysis on your resumé. You will also be able to act as an advocate for safe and effective data use to help the wider community of stakeholders to understand the power and value of well-managed data.

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