Keeping Our Data Safe at BBH and Beyond: Tech Talk with Danielle O’Donnell and Anna Kaczmarczyk

November 28, 2023
What exactly is Data Protection and why is it important? We dove into this question with two talented BBH experts: Danielle O’Donnell and Anna Kaczmarczyk.

Danielle O'Donnell, Managing Director in Data Protection, started her BBH journey in 2007 in Fund Accounting out of the Boston office before relocating with her family to Denver. Looking for a change a few years later, Danielle used her prior experience and moved into the BBH Systems organization on the Fund Accounting Platform before being presented with the opportunity to take on Data Protection and build up the program from scratch in 2016. In 2020, Danielle took on a new role in cybersecurity outside of BBH and returned in 2023 to the Boston office with expanded knowledge that she has since been able to apply to the data protection program.

Anna Kaczmarczyk, Assistant Vice President in Data Loss Prevention (DLP), a control under Data Protection, is located in the Krakow office and has been with BBH for 10 years this coming January. Starting her journey in Investor Services, Anna began reading internal job postings and was intrigued by a new opportunity in DLP. While the program itself was nothing new, building up DLP within BBH was a fresh and exciting challenge. Anna greatly enjoys being a people manager, which allows her to interact with people and take advantage of BBH’s unique culture and atmosphere.

Read on as Danielle and Anna share their knowledge and tackle the Data Protection questions we have all been pondering.

What is Data Protection and why is it important for everyone to understand and practice?

D: Data Protection is the collection of programs, strategies and controls to protect the Firm’s data from unintended access, use or loss. At BBH, our Data Protection team focuses on the identification and prioritization of sensitive data through data discovery and classification to then apply controls such as data loss prevention (DLP).

What are examples of ways we can all practice data protection?

D: Being aware of the sensitivity of data and its intended use are things to always keep in mind. When transmitting data using electronic communications such as email, take the time to think about what is being sent, who the recipients are and why they need the data. Other data protection practices include using strong passwords and changing them often and validating communications that are unexpected, especially when they are requesting personal or sensitive data.

What are some skills that are important to have in data protection roles and what advice would you give to someone looking to enter this field?

D: There are many different types of Data Protection roles: strategic, technical, project-oriented, operational, risk or compliance focused, just to name a few. Because of this, the required skillsets can vary but having a security mindset and a willingness to problem solve are at the top of the list. It is also important to collaborate and communication effectively as data protection initiatives can involve many different teams and stakeholders.

A: There are many skills you need to be successful in this role such as being detail oriented and having good focus and planning skills. DLP is a huge environment where there is continuous learning especially surrounding new tools and processes. Being involved in this field provides the chance to improve one’s technical skills. DLP would be a good fit for people that:

  • Want to feel they are doing something to protect the bank and all of its data
  • Enjoy thinking about the small details
  • Want to start learning IT or cybersecurity

How has this role changed the way you think about data / approach technology?

D: What I like about working in Data Protection is that it has a common sense element and it is something that is present in my everyday life both inside and outside of work. The best practices and controls that I work to promote and implement at work are also those that I follow when I am handling my own data or working with new technology.

A: Making people aware of the risk is a key point. In my previous roles I always made sure I was protecting personal and clients’ sensitive documents but in DLP I realized what an important part of our life DP is. With the technology that is available we can face the risk and handle the data protection challenges. So identifying the risk and having the technical possibilities to balance that risk – it builds the company’s power.

When people think of data they think of spreadsheets and numbers, can you share with us what makes data protection exciting for you?

D: Data Protection or Information Security as a whole is exciting to me as I know the work I’m doing is having a direct impact on safeguarding the data for BBH, its clients and its employees. I also enjoy working on enterprise-wide initiatives and having the opportunity to work with many different departments and people.
What / who inside or outside of BBH inspires you? How do you inspire your team members?

D: I am routinely inspired by the great things that can be achieved when people work together. I hope I inspire my team by demonstrating enthusiasm and dedication each day.

What is the most unique thing about your role or day-to-day work?

A: Definitely the great team we have, it is a pleasure to work with a team you can rely on and you can learn from more experienced colleagues every day. The second thing is being able to have a real impact on creating the DLP program at BBH. Having an opportunity to focus on building something new, working directly with the business and showing them how DLP can help to protect the internal data – it is a great satisfaction in day-to-day work.

Speaking with Danielle and Anna was a good reminder of what an integral component Data Protection is in keeping BBH safe and secure and how each and every person plays a part in protecting data, whether it is their own or a client of BBH’s.

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