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The Privacy Advisor | Cantor settling into private sector with Truist Related reading: Despite economic downturn, privacy jobs seem to be (mostly) safe



COVID-19 has altered the way a majority of people across industries go about their day-to-day work. An overlooked part of the pandemic-era work equation is how new hires, like Truist Bank Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Jonathan Cantor, CIPP/G, CIPP/US, are managing the acclimation process in a non-traditional remote setting.

Jonathan Cantor, CIPP/G, CIPP/US

Cantor said his on-boarding over the last month has been "easier than I thought," despite having to self-navigate a pre-programmed company laptop received via mail and only meeting new coworkers virtually.

The timing of his career change was far from ideal, but it was a move that Cantor had been seeking after holding privacy roles in the U.S. government for more than 20 years and spending the last eight with the Department of Homeland Security.

"I was hoping to find a place that had either an established privacy environment or that was developing one," Cantor said. "Also, a group that seemed focused on the people it was serving. I didn’t want to end up somewhere that kind of buried that aspect in their mission. Truist believes its clients own their data, and that is a philosophy I think makes sense as a privacy leader. I was coming from a place where it was a statutory mission so having that carry over was very important to me."

With Truist, which came to be after a merger between BB&T and SunTrust, Cantor entered into a situation in which privacy programs were converging into one. The exercise of sorting through the standards and processes from the merging institutions has proven to be a positive learning experience for Cantor.

"People in each program are learning about the other and why decisions were made a certain way in order to weave things into a comprehensive and coherent program," Cantor said. "It’s an interesting and stimulating activity and an incredibly exciting opportunity to help shape how a new brand protects its 12-plus million clients."

The work itself is only one of the challenges Cantor has welcomed. Another hurdle has been getting up to speed with privacy compliance requirements in the financial sector and the requirements of multiple state laws rather than federal legislation.

"You’re not looking at (laws and the Constitution) in the same way in the private sector because, for example, serving someone a warrant or intelligence matters are not among our responsibilities in banking,” Cantor said. “You also don’t really focus on state law in the federal sector. The whole conversation around the (California Consumer Privacy Act), for example, isn’t really a focus at the federal level. I’m now walking into a huge conversation on CCPA, its implementation and the activities around it."

Cantor added that joining CCPA compliance efforts mere months before the July 1 enforcement date has helped him become more informed on bank-related compliance activities that he otherwise wouldn't have considered so early in his tenure.

While there's been a great deal of learning, Cantor has found comfort in part because of some the carry-over from his prior work. Despite the differing sectors, Cantor said the privacy focuses and foundations at Truist and DHS are comparable. Additionally, Cantor's current and former employer share a structured work atmosphere, which he cited as a must-have characteristic during his job search.

"I knew that jumping to a small tech firm or someplace similar would never work for me as a 20-plus-year government guy,” Cantor said. “I was going to need something that in its own way was structured out and established. Banking is a lot like that. It’s not bureaucratic in the same way the government is, but it has a lot of established processes. I felt there would be something to working in that sector that would feel natural to me."

Photo by Walker Fenton on Unsplash

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