The recent headlines have been jarring and disconcerting. South of the border, data from Facebook users was improperly obtained by Cambridge Analytica to help sway a U.S. election. Meanwhile, right at home in Canada, we have our own cyber incidents. The largest breach to date in the financial services sector occurred when Desjardins compromised the data of nearly 9.7 million Canadians. More recently, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had to lock out 800,000 taxpayers from their online accounts, out of fear that their usernames and passwords were hacked. Right now, the CRA is monitoring to see if any of this information has been put up for sale on the dark web.
With data breaches come increased government regulations and consumer outcries demanding improved handling of personal data. That is why a career in privacy management has never been more relevant and rewarding. As jurisdictions around the world enact new laws for privacy protection, all companies and organizations must respond with systems and programs to meet these demands. As a result, every industry from healthcare, education, finance and law to retail, marketing and digital technology needs employees with privacy management skills and credentials.
Relevant today, even more valuable in the future
In 2018, there were only a few thousand official privacy officers worldwide. In 2019, it was estimated that half a million organizations relied on the expertise of a privacy officer. This will grow to over a million organizations by the end of 2022.1
In 2020, modern privacy regulations covered the personal information of only 10% of the world’s population. By 2023, such regulations will cover 65% of the population.2
Professionals with privacy management skill sets are in-demand
In today’s digital economy, where the consumer is the product and your personal data is currency, individual privacy has never been more important. From online mortgages to banking, tax filing and even the seemingly harmless sharing of our opinions, likes and dislikes on social media, our personal info is ripe for the taking. Which, in turn, is why more companies are actively seeking professionals with the knowledge and expertise to deal with the all-important issue of keeping personal data private. There are more jobs than ever in this growing and exciting field of privacy management.
A meaningful and constantly-evolving career
With increased access to data and heightened surveillance, the public increasingly expects their personal information to be properly managed and protected. Companies, aware of the liability of data breaches, are actively searching for privacy management professionals.
Rewarding careers for privacy management professionals
Employees with knowledge and skills in privacy, access, and information management are critical to a company’s ability to manage regulatory, reputational, and legal risks.
Working in privacy management for a company places you in a valued position, governing almost every aspect of your organization to ensure:
- The collection, usage, disclosure and disposal of personal information in a manner following the law and policy guidance
- The safe and secure handling of that information
- The management of all risks associated with personal information handling
How can you prepare for this exciting career move?
To distinguish yourself in today’s job market, you will need the kind of skills that will allow you to create frameworks for privacy compliance within organizations. There are now many programs and courses such as the ones at McMaster University Continuing Education that teach these in-demand skills.
The rewards are great and the work is fascinating, as you:
Learn about laws, established practices and tools for privacy management
Discover how to create an industry-appropriate plan of action
Understand the analysis, communication, technology and management of a protection plan to safeguard personal information
Examine risk assessment strategies and techniques and know how to respond and manage any privacy and security breaches
Explore the challenges that arise as increasing amounts of information are stored and used within evolving digital technologies
Strategize how to manage information even as technologies grow and change
The bottom line? Skills in privacy management are more valuable than ever as employers include these in job descriptions. It’s an evergreen career destined to last long into the future.
1 IT World Canada - Gartner Report
2 IT World Canada - Gartner Report
The fundamentals of Privacy management in Canada