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Privacy Professionals Required

The need for privacy skills in organizations of all sizes is front and center in this day and age. Retailers are linking client loyalty program data to social media information to predict purchasing patterns. Smart phones are tracking location and how much exercise we’re getting. Websites are recording our clicks, the pages we frequent, the purchases we make and whether or not we share or like something.

Data is being collected and aggregated more than ever before. Recent estimates put it as high as 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated daily. Just think: 90 percent of data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone!

Knowledge Requirements

American global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, Inc. estimates that the US will require 140,000 to 190,000 more workers possessing “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers.

Peter Sondergaard, senior VP at Gartner and its global head of research, estimates that by 2015 the US will need 1.9 million more data scientists, because data analytics is one of the fastest growing fields in IT. He also said that every Big Data-related role will create employment for three people outside of IT. Going further, accounting and auditing firms have enjoyed the success of privacy compliance auditing required to review and manage these complicated systems.

There are specific rules that must be followed for handling data. In the US, federal and state laws and regulations protect the privacy of personal information and more are being drafted. Violations of some of these laws will bring serious punitive measures, including sanctions, while other means of enforcement, such as consent decrees with the Federal Trade Commission can be more burdensome than costly.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been extremely proactive about taking companies to task for their privacy promises and data collection and use practices. It’s not alone in its efforts. Recently, the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) issued guidance on cybersecurity and now requires companies to outline their risk of a cyber-attack.

On top of these US-based organizations, the EU has a series of data protection regulations to govern international data transfers. These European regulations guide how companies processing the personal information of EU citizens are expected to behave, regardless of where the company is located.

All this describes a climate of risk and complexity, indicating the demand for skilled privacy professionals, many of which are being given increasing budgets with which to protect their organizations’ assets.

A Privacy Boom

All this interest in the privacy field has positive compensation implications for privacy professionals. Practical knowledge of privacy allows professionals to increase their value to the company as well as its bottom line.

Back in 2012, the IAPP released some information indicating that respondents working for US-based firms earned an average of $123,030, followed by firms based in Europe at $114,116 and Asia-Pacific organizations at $113,527. Professionals with privacy certification, such as CIPP/IT, reported a median salary of $13,000 higher than their counterparts who lacked this distinction.

However, privacy professionals require tools with which to perform the increasingly crucial jobs they are given. There are numerous opportunities in the privacy industry for technology vendors, service providers, law firms, consultants and other firms to develop products and services that can offer solutions to the privacy concerns that abound in the marketplace.

Participant Profile

The initial Industry of Privacy survey produced some interesting results. It involved 413 privacy professionals worldwide, with just 23 percent of them working for firms that solely did business in the US. Over half of the respondents self-identified as working at private-sector firms with in-house positions. Across all spending categories, these privacy professionals working in the private sector, in-house reported greater decision-making power and influence on privacy budget than any other position in the privacy landscape.

While many professionals working in large companies responded to this study, it’s important to note that 20.6 percent worked for a company with less than 250 employees. This substantial proportion of professionals working in small business is good news for privacy, particularly in terms of the growth of the privacy industry as a whole.

In a future article, we’ll take a closer look at the breakdown of privacy budgets. How is all the money being spent?

Summary

Recent studies have indicated that the need for strong privacy knowledge is greater than ever. The so-called privacy boom has led to increased privacy budgets and positive implications for those working in the privacy industry.

CIPP Exam Preparation

In preparation for the Certified Information Privacy Professional/Information Technology (CIPP/IT) exam, a privacy professional should be comfortable with topics related to this post, including:

  • Privacy responsibility framework (II.B.)
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