Survey: The best privacy advisers in 2008

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Several experts predict the drumbeat of security-breach notifications will affect new areas.

"There will continue to be an expansion of heightened data security and identity-theft prevention requirements to business entities not previously regulated in these areas," said Benita Kahn, a partner at Columbus, Ohio-based Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease, "and to business functions not historically subject to rigorous security audits and controls."

"A main driver for engaging outside privacy advisers will include assistance in the selection and implementation of enabling technologies such as data-loss prevention, endpoint-security tools and access-governance applications," said Larry Ponemon, head of the Ponemon Institute.

"We're seeing an evolution in the enterprise response to privacy and data protection," said Rena Mears, global and national service offering leader in Deloitte's security and privacy practice.

"Increasingly," she added, "companies are recognizing the need to manage and protect data as a global asset, and are adopting and implementing automated technology solutions to optimize opportunities and address these challenges."

Andrew Serwin, a partner at Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner, said, "Growing concerns over information security, driven by the new information security laws that have passed, or will pass next year, as well as the Red Flag regulations, will be the top factor driving companies to seek outside privacy advice."

"There will continue to be an uptick in the number of regulatory investigations and enforcement actions" related to data breaches, added Sotto.

Several experts say developments in new technologies and business operations will continue to force privacy into project plans.

Purcell expects Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, video uploads and social-networking sites to generate more privacy questions for businesses. "2009 will see the convergence of personal and proprietary information in ways that most businesses will find perplexing," he said.

Adam Nelson, senior managing consultant in IBM's Security & Privacy Services group, sees cross-border data transfer and data-related vendor management driving demand for 2009 projects across his clientele.

"Continued moves to globalize data management — and to tap into 'cloud' infrastructures — will drive an increased need to address compliance, risk management and supporting technology," he explained.

"We anticipate that a top driver for outside advice in 2009 will be related to cost-savings initiatives that impact privacy," said Ruth Hill Bro, a partner at Baker & McKenzie.

"Transactions such as renegotiating outsourcing arrangements, expanding offshoring activities, consolidating global databases and implementing global reductions in force would all require a plan for privacy," she added.

Table 3: Top individual experts
The following privacy professionals received the most tallies in response to the question, "Which person -- whether a lawyer, consultant or corporate privacy officer -- do you think is the top global expert on data privacy and protection?"
Expert Votes
Lisa Sotto, Hunton & Williams/th> 35
Stu Ingis, Venable 25
Variants of "privacy is too complex to have a single top expert" 19
Chris Kuner, Hunton & Williams 15
Rebecca Herold, Rebecca Herold & Associates F14
Reed Freeman, Kelley Drye 13

Will companies facing declining earnings in 2009 end up scaling back their privacy agendas, after all? Many will try. But consumer, legislator and regulator demands for greater privacy protections are likely to drive the ultimate outcome.

Jay Cline is a former chief privacy officer at a Fortune 500 company and is now president of Minnesota Privacy Consultants. You can reach him at cwprivacy@computerworld.com.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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