Much like in the Old West when the town sheriff and a few deputies did their best to keep the local citizens safe from the black-hatted bad guys who inhabited the surrounding empty land, today’s chief privacy officer (CPO) must keep data locked down at companies, organizations or government entities and beyond the reach of cybercriminals.

A bevy of stunning privacy breaches (think Facebook and FEMA) coupled with a greater urgency to comply with regulations (think GDPR) and an increasingly proactive approach to protecting data have prompted many organizations to mull and even elevate the position of CPO. A quick search on LinkedIn, Monster or any job site turns up a huge number of openings for CPOs and the even larger number of data breaches that have exposed the personal information of billions of people around the world certainly speaks to the desperate need for someone to be in charge, though the qualifications seem to vary depending on the organization.

What exactly are the duties of a CPO? Should he or she have cybersecurity tasks similar to that of a CISO? Is the role an offshoot or subset of a company’s CIO?

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