An Interview with a TrustArc Privacy Expert
Beth Sipula, FIP, CIPM, CIPP/US, is a Senior Privacy Consultant working with hundreds of privacy professionals across the globe to scale and improve their privacy programs.
What Drew You to Data Privacy, and How Many Years Have You Been in the Privacy Space?
I fell into the privacy profession while working for a technology start-up in 2000. I was the Director of Customer Care at that time, and one of the founders asked me to take on creating the privacy program.
He said, “Beth, we need someone to manage privacy here, and we think you would be well-suited because we want it to be close to the customer.”
After leading the privacy program there for six months, I realized how much I loved working in privacy!
In 2004 I became a full-time privacy practitioner, making this year (2017) my 13th year working strictly with privacy and compliance.
Favorite GDPR Article and Why?
Article 25 – Data protection by design and default, is my favorite.
It resonates with my background in customer support and operations, and it’s the method I’ve seen organizations use to implement privacy programs successfully.
I think it’s one of the most effective ways to reduce and manage privacy risk as it forces organizations to think about all of the steps needed to truly operationalize a privacy program so that it becomes part of the overall business process.
What’s One Thing You’ve Noticed that has Changed About Data Privacy Since You’ve Started?
When I first started, privacy was a role filled only by attorneys, and the biggest risk people discussed was SPAM emails.
This field has shifted; privacy is part of larger information governance programs and goes much deeper now.
It’s been exciting to watch the evolution.
Because of the demand for privacy practitioners, the new technology that uses personal data, and the broad areas of expertise, today privacy practitioners have many different backgrounds in addition to legal.
Advice for New Privacy Practitioners
I have two pieces of advice which have helped me throughout my career.
First, choose an area in privacy that resonates with you and master it. Becoming an expert takes years, so add to your area of expertise incrementally and do not try to master everything at one time.
Second, spend 30 minutes to one hour each day reading about data privacy. This space is evolving quickly, and staying up to date on the latest news is very important.
Privacy Experts Help Grow and Scale your Privacy Program
Beth Sipula is a Senior Privacy Consultant at TrustArc. Beth has spent the last seventeen years focusing on a broad range of data privacy, data security and risk management areas.
She has extensive experience in leading global data privacy assessments, privacy by design, privacy training, evaluating new and emerging technologies, M&A assessments and support, and leading operational compliance programs.