In Advertising Ages recently published article, “Four Things CMOs Can Do to Protect Data Privacy,” the author rightly points out the importance of extending the data-security conversation beyond the scope of IT and Legal departments to encompass CMOs and marketing executives as well. The article highlights four steps CMOs can take to protect data privacy: Take inventory; Be prepared; Test the plan; and Re-evaluate vendor and third-party contracts.

To be sure, these are valuable and practical actions to take. But there is another vital step – and it’s just as essential: Educate yourself.

Today, data is the new gold. In 2012, the Data-Driven Marketing Economy (DDME) added $156 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy and fueled more than 675,000 jobs — and consumer trust is the key to unlocking that incredible wealth of data. To earn and keep that trust, it’s vital for CMOs and marketers to take up the mantle of data stewardship.

The entire marketing team must know where the guard rails are when it comes to data security— and become expert on the most current information and best practices. It’s no longer enough to leave this kind of knowledge to the technology or “specialists.” That’s why DMA launched a comprehensive course and certification for marketers who use, access, and live in the world of data and information — and really, that’s all of us!

As I’m always saying, in this digital age, we must all lean in and take responsibility when it comes to matters of data-privacy and security. And becoming conversant and knowledgeable about all facets of marketing data governance, best practices, and the public policy debate really is the first step. Take it!