If you attended our most recent quarterly data breach review, you probably heard a new term: “metagame.” The idea, put in its simplest form, is to take information from outside a scenario and use it to influence your choices. It is amazing how using information that is not necessarily inside your environment can allow you to adjust and prepare for a lot of scenarios. This in turn keeps you ahead of the game.
What does “Metagame” mean?
When asked for an example of what a metagame is, I often talk about chess. When you start a game of chess, there are only a set number of moves any player can take. In fact, the only moves available are the eight pawns and the two knight pieces. Most high level players need to think several moves ahead, but imagine if you knew what they would do in a given situation. If you knew that they always took an aggressive strategy with their queen-side knight, you can adjust your strategy to counter that. You can apply this to any situation where you know something from outside the given scenario.
How do we apply this to privacy?
Now think about a privacy program and the procedures you have in place. You have heard about a W-2 phishing scam that has been going around, I am sure. You know this targets the financial areas of a business, so you adjust your current strategy to combat it. You can gather this information from other privacy professionals, the news, or even just by having an alert set up for information on breaches or other privacy matters.
You may take more time than you usually would to go and visit accounting, let them know what is going on, and adjust their daily activities to alert you if a CEO or similar executive is supposedly asking for personal financial information. This is metagaming.
Staying ahead of the game
You can even use metagaming when looking to future regulations. A lot of us are talking about EU-US Privacy Shield. What is it going to cover? Who is affected? What will I need to do to bring my company into compliance? Many have publicly speculated as to what it will involve and you can take that information and plan accordingly.
You can bring in a third party for an assessment or a data inventory to know where you stand, plan out what changes you may need, and actually be ready for the arrival of Privacy Shield. After that, all that is left is to see what happens and act according to your plans, taking the strongest possible course of action.