The Herald (South Africa)

Data protection officers in high demand

- Salvador Rodriguez

THEY may not have the cachet of entreprene­urs, or geek chic of developers, but data protection officers are suddenly the hottest properties in technology.

When Jen Brown got her first certificat­ion for informatio­n privacy in 2006, few companies were looking for people qualified to manage the legal and ethical issues related to handling customer data.

But now it’s 2018, companies across the globe are scrambling to comply with a European law that represents the biggest shakeup of personal data privacy rules since the birth of the internet – and Brown’s inbox is being besieged by recruiters.

“I got into security before anyone cared about it, and I had a hard time finding a job,” Brown, 46, the data protection officer (DPO) of analytics startup Sumo Logic in Redwood City near San Francisco, said.

“Suddenly, people are sitting up and taking notice.”

Brown is among a hitherto rare breed of workers who are becoming sought-after commoditie­s in the global tech industry ahead of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in May.

The law is intended to give European citizens more control over their online informatio­n and applies to all firms that do business with Europeans.

It requires that all companies whose core activities include substantia­l monitoring or processing of personal data hire a DPO.

More than 28 000 will be needed in Europe and US and as many as 75 000 around the globe as a result of GDPR, the Internatio­nal Associatio­n of Privacy Profession­als estimates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa