What is a Privacy Consultant? (Role, Duties, & More)
As data privacy laws are becoming strict, staying compliant is becoming a challenge for many businesses. External data breaches only add to this challenge. Fortunately, a privacy consultant can help you manage privacy compliance regulations and prevent data breaches.
Privacy consultants are experts in privacy regulations, data protection, and other data compliance laws. They help businesses identify and mitigate data privacy risks and create internal privacy policies to prevent data loss.
This guide will cover the roles and duties of a privacy consultant, discuss related roles, and explore the career path of a privacy consultant job.
Let’s get started!
What is a Privacy Consultant?
A privacy consultant is someone who helps businesses develop data privacy policies to comply with privacy regulations. Privacy consultants help review a business's current state of compliance, identify data privacy risks, and create strategies for ensuring compliance with data privacy laws.
A privacy consultant also helps businesses with internal risk management, which may include data protection procedures, creating internal policies for restricting data access, and improving data protection systems.
This involves protecting consumer data and also ensuring that a business’s sensitive data isn’t compromised.
In doing so, privacy consultants help businesses avoid hefty fines, reputation damage, or legal issues due to non-compliance with data privacy regulations.
Privacy Consultant Role Overview
The primary role of a privacy consultant is to ensure that a business’s data privacy policies are aligned with relevant consumer privacy regulations.
However, it’s never wise to stick to the bare minimum, and having a privacy consultant can also help your business improve its data protection systems.
To ensure this, privacy consultants perform duties such as:
- Risk Auditing: Privacy consultants conduct regular audits to identify where the business stands in terms of data privacy compliance. This helps identify areas for improvement.
- Drafting Internal Data Privacy Policies: Privacy consultants help draft data privacy policies to ensure the business remains compliant with industry regulations. This often includes product or service privacy policies and cookie consent policies.
- Creating Risk Management Procedures: Even if your business is compliant with data privacy regulations, you may still face a data breach. A data privacy consultant can help draft a privacy breach response policy and protocol to help you minimize the damage.
- Drafting Processing Agreements: If your business shares private or sensitive data with third-parties, you’ll need a data processing agreement. This is often drafted by a privacy consultant and is a critical part of data privacy systems.
These agreements, policies, and procedures change constantly, and privacy consultants are required to review and update them accordingly.
Privacy Consultant Job Description
The typical duties of a privacy consultant are to ensure a business remains compliant with global privacy regulations. Privacy consultants will have to conduct audits, draft data privacy policies and work with other departments to implement these policies.
Let’s look at the qualifications and duties involved in this job:
Qualifications and Skills
- A bachelor's degree in data science, business management, law or a related field.
- Compliance certifications like CIPP accreditation.
- A thorough understanding of data privacy frameworks, like CPRA and GDPR.
- Strong computer literacy and an understanding of encryption, anti-malware and related software.
- Excellent analytical, strategic and communication skills and the ability to present ideas effectively.
- Drafting product or service privacy policies.
- Drafting internal data privacy and security protocols to ensure compliance.
- Conducting regular data privacy audits to identify risks.
- Communicating with other departments to reduce vulnerability.
- Drafting privacy and cookie consent policies.
- Creating and implementing breach response protocols for risk management.
Jobs Related to Privacy Consultant
The career path of a privacy consultant has a wide scope, and you can specialize in various aspects of data protection, consultancy, and cybersecurity. Many of these jobs pay well, and some only require you to work in the capacity of a consultant.
Common job fields for data privacy experts include:
Data Protection Officer
A data protection officer is responsible for ensuring that the business follows relevant data privacy regulations when collecting, processing, or storing data. This applies to both internal sensitive data of the business as well as consumer data.
Data protection officers often have more authority than consultants and are included in many important decisions.
Businesses that deal in industries with frequently changing regulations often hire a privacy analyst to help them stay compliant. A privacy analyst is responsible for conducting regular policy audits to ensure that they are in line with industry regulations.
This typically includes keeping an eye out for regulatory changes and updating data privacy, cookie consent, and risk management policies.
A privacy lawyer’s job is very similar to that of a consultant, but these professionals have a deeper understanding of data privacy laws. Privacy lawyers can take on advisory roles and are also needed for resolving disputes.
A privacy lawyer will need specialized certification in data regulations, data privacy, consumer data protection, and relevant laws.
Compliance officers are the backbone of every business’s compliance team and ensure that businesses maintain a high level of corporate compliance. This includes compliance with data privacy laws, cybersecurity regulations, and other compliance areas.
Compliance officers need to have a basic understanding of these regulations and work closely with senior management to implement internal compliance policies.
When it comes to data privacy, few jobs are as important as a compliance trainer. These professionals often work part-time or in contract-based roles and are responsible for training employees on data privacy policies.
Considering that most data breaches are caused by employee negligence, this role is crucial for many businesses.
Pros & Cons Of Being a Privacy Consultant
If you’re thinking about starting a privacy consulting job, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons beforehand. While this job is relatively smooth and doesn’t put you under constant pressure, you’ll need to have relevant skills to deal with upper management.
Here are some pros and cons to consider before embarking on this career path:
- This position is often contract-based and you can consult several companies at a time for better earning.
- A full-time privacy consultancy job pays well, often between $50k to $100k annually.
- You won’t be pressured for meeting deadlines or dealing with difficult customers.
- Privacy consultants often work independently and you only report to senior management.
- You get to work in a strategic position in businesses and this opens up opportunities to multiple career paths.
- Dealing with senior management is difficult, especially if your risk management audits aren’t in their favor.
- You’ll have to constantly refresh your knowledge in light of changing regulations.
- You’ll need to be an expert in data protection systems, which requires high levels of technical skill.
- Many privacy consultancy jobs are contract or freelance-based, so job security can be an issue.
How to be a Privacy Consultant
With data privacy laws constantly changing, the demand for privacy consultants is increasing. If you want to become a privacy consultant, you’ll need at least a bachelor's degree and relevant skills and experience.
Fortunately, it’s a pretty straightforward career path with multiple opportunities for growth.
Here are some things to consider if you want to become a privacy consultant:
1. Consider Career Preferences
With so many jobs available in this field, it’s a good idea to consider your career preferences before making a decision. Always play to your strengths and choose a job that suits your interests.
For example, if you come from a law background, a privacy lawyer’s job may suit you but if you come from a business management background, you may prefer a compliance officer’s role.
2. Earn Education Credentials and Certifications
To become a privacy consultant you’ll need to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, data science, law, business management or a related field. It’s also helpful to earn professional certifications based on your preferred industry.
Having extra credentials apart from your degree will give you more preference over other candidates.
3. Gain Work Experience
It’s rare for businesses to hire fresh privacy consultants and you’ll need to gain experience beforehand. If you’re qualified, you can start working as a compliance associate before moving up the ranks.
You can also apply to internships in privacy consultancy or as a privacy analyst before you start providing your own data privacy consultancy services.
4. Learn Technical Skills
Regardless of your degree, you’ll need relevant technical skills if you want to advance your career in data privacy. Apart from basic computer literacy, you’ll need an understanding of data protection systems, information systems and cybersecurity frameworks.
Having these skills gives you an edge over other candidates and is crucial in this digital age.
Privacy consultants are often hired as freelancers or for contract-based jobs. Whether you’re looking to work in a full-time position or as a freelancer, networking will open up more opportunities for you.
You can attend cybersecurity or data protection conferences, connect with other experts on LinkedIn, or spend time actively promoting your file online.
How Much Can I Earn as a Data Privacy Consultant?
The average salary of a data privacy consultant is between $50k-$100k per year. More experienced consultants may earn more, especially if they provide services to several businesses.
What Does a Privacy Consultancy Firm Do?
A privacy consultancy firm helps businesses do privacy audits, draft privacy protocols, do risk assessments, and provides other data privacy services.
How Do I Start as an Independent Consultant?
To be an independent data privacy consultant, you’ll need relevant qualifications, skills, and experience in the field. You can start out in corporate compliance or do an internship to get experience before starting out on your own.
What is the Job of a Data Privacy Consultant?
A data privacy consultant’s job is to advise businesses on data privacy regulations and help them draft internal policies and protocols accordingly. Most often this takes the form of an advisory role, but it can also be a full-time position.
Protecting sensitive business data and complying with data privacy regulations is becoming more difficult by the day. With regular changes in laws and regulations, being compliant has become a challenge.
At Captain Compliance, we ensure you remain compliant with data privacy regulations through our compliance services. From drafting cookie consent policies to doing information audits, we help your business remain compliant every step of the way.
So, avoid data breaches, tighten your privacy policies, and ensure you’ll never be fined for non-compliance. Get in touch today!