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The Privacy Advisor | The changing face of IT training Related reading: The latest on COVID-19-related privacy matters



It’s the second-most universal aspect of the job of privacy: organizing and providing privacy-related awareness and training. Not only must privacy pros be steeped in the knowledge of privacy law, but the IAPP-EY Privacy Governance Report says 78 percent of privacy pros also need to know how to convey some portion of that knowledge to others.

The HR department needs to know about, oh, background checks and that bit about whether they can ask if you’re a felon or not. Maybe the call center folks need to know more about social engineering than most.

IT? They need to know a lot of stuff.

While IT used to be a largely straightforward operation, focused on hardware and software support, Michael Fox, global VP, Product Management, at IT training company Global Knowledge, said difficult policy decisions are starting to creep in, which requires a different brand of training, far beyond simply how to use a product.

“The IT industry is changing dramatically,” he said. “As the world changes, and as enterprises embrace the cloud and mobility and social outreach capabilities, the amount of data they’re producing is just growing exponentially.” More data means more data governance and privacy issues.

Further, he said, IT departments are having to deal with the global nature of the cloud and the internet of things, while also having to accommodate country-specific privacy policies, even countries “forcing data to physically reside in-country, which flies in the whole face of cloud. It’s an interesting dynamic the world is chewing on.”

For a company like Global Knowledge, which trains some 200,000 professionals each year from more than 100 countries and speaking dozens of languages, this new reality has forced them to find training to offer that meets these new IT department demands.

“It’s now a business imperative that privacy is dealt with in an appropriate way,” Fox said.

"I’ve been in the IT industry for a very long time, 30 years, and this data privacy thing, in terms of the growth, importance, and need, is one of the most exciting things I’ve seen." —Michael Fox, Global Knowledge

That’s why he’s happy to be working with the IAPP to provide the IAPP’s privacy training to Global Knowledge’s customers around the world. With the IAPP, Fox said, “we’re uniquely positioned to take that mission into the IT organizations we work with all over the world. Privacy is not something that’s going away. It’s beginning to sit squarely in the IT organization and how they think about data management.”

This shift in IT thinking has happened before, of course. Fox likens it, for example, to the TCP/IP revolution, when everything began to come online. “Think about when the telecom industry needed to transform their workforce from voice to IP,” Fox said, “and all the principles around quality of service didn’t apply anymore. You had to think of things differently, moving from closed and proprietary to connected and open.”

“Now it’s the same with the internet of things,” Fox said. “Old school industries like transportation, manufacturing, and energy, as they embrace IoT, they’re going to have to train old industrial automation people on new technology and new workforce skills. … And once that really takes hold and takes off in a mainstream way, the amount of data that’s going to create will take what we’ve got now and stand it right up on its head.”

However, it’s this difficult nature of privacy that gets Fox excited about its possibilities for the training business. While training was formerly very transactional — if you bought a Cisco router, you needed some Cisco training — privacy is much more nuanced and consultative. When Global Knowledge engages with an enterprise on privacy, it allows them to learn more about the business and understand better which portions of it need privacy help.

“It’s more difficult,” said Fox, “and left to our own devices it would be very difficult, but the partnership with IAPP is strong and they help navigate that for us. I’ve been in the IT industry for a very long time, 30 years, and this data privacy thing, in terms of the growth, importance, and need, is one of the most exciting things I’ve seen. You can see the evolution around the world as people come to understand the importance of this.”


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