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Data protection skills shortage an issue for Ireland, experts warn

28 Jan 2020

On International Data Privacy Day, the BSI warns that skills shortages in the industry pose a threat to Irish businesses.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has said that the shortage of skilled data privacy and protection professionals in Ireland means that “many businesses do not have adequate skills” to protect their company or their customers.

The comments were made today (28 January) on the occasion of Data Privacy Day, where many organisations around the world are raising awareness of data protection best practices. The BSI global centre of excellence for cybersecurity and information resilience, which is based in Sandyford, was also visited today by the president and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), J Trevor Hughes.

During his visit, Hughes said: “The changing regulatory environments and the complex digital economy make the job of privacy more important than ever. It is driving the need for trained and certified privacy professionals around the world.”

Hughes also made reference to IAPP research that showed 500,000 organisations across Europe now have registered data protection officers, and added that the environment is becoming “more complicated each day”.

“We’re seeing enforcement actions and global data transfers under threat. Privacy professionals are an important tool to help navigate this complex environment, and they should be leveraged now more than ever,” he said.

Awareness and resilience

In an effort to give the data privacy workforce a boost, BSI has announced a new range of training courses for 2020. The courses, described by BSI as “advanced”, have been developed to help grow privacy and information security skills in Irish companies.

BSI said that the skills shortage in privacy and data protection extends to even the most basic level of skills, meaning “many businesses do not have adequate skills to get the fundamentals right”.

BSI director Mike Bailey said: “Our sector skills are in high demand at present and we are seeing a shortage of skilled professionals, especially in the privacy field, as organisations seek to meet compliance of new and existing regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).

“At BSI, we have seen demand for our consulting service increase significantly in recent years, especially our data protection and privacy management practices.”

Bailey added that it will be necessary to strengthen businesses’ awareness and resilience in these areas now and into the future.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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