A chat with ... Alexandra Ross from Autodesk

Alexandra Ross was kind enough to answer a few questions for ITSPmagazine, giving us some insight into what she does in her role as global privacy and data security counsel at Autodesk.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

In my role as privacy counsel, I manage Autodesk’s privacy and security risks in an increasingly regulated environment. I help Autodesk and our business stakeholders keep pace with customer demands and to incorporate privacy and security by design into the company culture and practices.

The dynamic nature of the industry makes it important for privacy and security professionals to be mindful and intentional in every aspect of their jobs. I truly enjoy interacting with my business clients, following the regulators’ statements, and responding to needs of Autodesks’ users. I focus on being mindful and intentional about spoken and unspoken needs and concerns as way to get to an optimal and profitable result for all that are involved in the process.


Can you share a recent team accomplishment?

Autodesk recently filed for the Privacy Shield certification. It was a team effort between legal, privacy and security departments and functional business teams.

Our privacy team also participates in training and outreach to various teams at Autodesk on topics such as privacy by design, security by design and analytics. We've received great feedback from the business teams that our training is on point and contains relevant and practical use cases.


Can you shed some more light on the privacy training your team does at AutoDesk?

Employees take computer based training on Information Security and Privacy. The learning modules include:

  • Intro to Information Security
  • Passwords
  • Email
  • Phishing
  • Identity Theft
  • Social Engineering
  • Privacy Awareness

The main objective of the awareness course is to broaden awareness of privacy and data security, and Autodesk’s policies governing rights and responsibilities. The intent is for employees to gain an understanding of what privacy and data security mean and why it is important to Autodesk and our customers, what is personal data, how to properly collect and handle personal data, and how to report a suspected security incident or unauthorized use of personal data.


What about a recent personal accomplishment?

As the Privacy Guru, I published an ebook called Privacy for Humans - available on iTunes and Amazon. The ebook offers ways to cultivate privacy awareness in order to make more informed decisions about personal privacy.



Can you tell us why you wrote the book Privacy for Humans? What inspired you to do it?

I created the book Privacy for Humans as a way to engage with technology users of all kinds – tech lovers as well as those who might not be as comfortable or facile with technology. The book is fun, colorful and contains many images and illustrations intended to spark a curiosity and conversation about privacy concepts. I was inspired to offer a guide that wasn’t full of IT, tech or legal jargon, but rather that spoke directly to ordinary people who care about privacy.  The book offers tools, tips and resources to use technology mindfully and make informed privacy choices.


Did you learn anything about yourself while writing the book?

Developing the book was a great creative outlet for me. I collaborated with fantastic illustrators and designers who helped me actualize my vision of distilling complex privacy concepts into easy to consume, pithy, shareable pieces of information. I learned how to edit, keep things simple, and that images can be a fun and fresh way to capture our attention and convey privacy and security concepts.


Do you have a question for your peers?

I'm involved in organizations such as WISP (Women in Security and Privacy) and the IAPP's Women Leading Privacy that foster women's advancement in the fields of privacy and data security - what are others doing to mentor young women privacy professionals?

About Alexandra Ross

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     Alexandra Ross

Alexandra Ross

Alexandra Ross, Senior Global Privacy and Data Security Counsel, Autodesk,Inc.

Alexandra Ross is the founder of The Privacy Guru and Senior Global Privacy and Data Security Counsel at Autodesk, Inc., a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Previously she was Senior Counsel at Paragon Legal and Associate General Counsel for Wal-Mart Stores. She is a certified information privacy professional (CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM and FIP) and practices in San Francisco, California. She holds a law degree from Hastings College of Law and a B.S. in theater from Northwestern University.

Alexandra launched The Privacy Guru blog in January of 2014 to facilitate a safe, engaging space for people of all walks of life to learn about privacy and security. Her mission is to demystify complex privacy issues and help us make mindful privacy choices that align with our personal values. Her ebook Privacy for Humans (available on Amazon and iTunes) is a guide for technology lovers who want to embrace the future with enhanced awareness of data privacy and security issues.

An accomplished writer and engaging speaker, Alexandra brings a unique perspective to the privacy field with fun and accessible presentations and thought-provoking images and content.