Ernst & Young, one of the world’s leading professional services networks with a presence in over 120 countries, has always been privacy focused. But despite its own culture of privacy, it recognized that there was no industry benchmark to recognize privacy expertise. When the IAPP developed its CIPP program to bring standardization to the field, the U.S. member firm of the global Ernst & Young organization was a key contributor and early adopter. Today, Ernst & Young member firms have more IAPP-certified professionals than any other organization in the world.
Demonstrate Thought-leadership in an Emerging Profession
In the early days of privacy, Ernst & Young’s privacy professionals were reacting to the needs of the market and changes in regulations without the benefit of a benchmark or a level of consistency. When the IAPP formed, it provided a non-advocacy forum to bring different stakeholders together to share ideas and develop the field. “We didn’t really have anything with that type of agenda or platform prior to the IAPP,” explains Sagi Leizerov, CIPP/US, Executive Director of Privacy Services at Ernst & Young, LLP. “We knew that its success would be extremely beneficial to everybody in our field.”
Collaborate with the IAPP to Foster a Globally Recognized Privacy Certification Program
When the IAPP first began developing the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) program in 2004, it was clear to leadership at Ernst & Young that it needed to be a part of the effort. Among the benefits of certification, according to Leizerov, was the standardization it brought to the marketplace. Over the years, Ernst & Young has worked with the IAPP to help address different areas of specialization within the CIPP program, including European (CIPP/E), information technology (CIPP/IT) and U.S. government (CIPP/G) concentrations, and the IAPP’s newest certification program—the Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM). “We are applying certification in a much more deliberate way that matches the skill sets with the activities our privacy professionals are performing on a regular basis,” explains Leizerov. Additionally, Ernst & Young privacy trainers are part of the IAPP’s Professional Privacy Faculty, which helps privacy professionals prepare for certification through in-person prep classes.
Differentiation in the Marketplace and a Privacy-focused Culture
Ernst & Young has experienced a positive response to its commitment to privacy certification from the marketplace. According to Leizerov, clients who come to Ernst & Young firms recognize the value of a CIPP designation: “It provides the client with a level of comfort that goes beyond the training we do internally and beyond the methodology Ernst & Young has developed; they see that our professionals have the certification that is accepted as the standard in privacy.”
In fact, Ernst & Young has also found that many of its member firm clients become invested in privacy certification, and its collaboration with the IAPP has helped them provide a higher level of service. “Many of our clients who buy into the importance of privacy also want to be trained and certified,” says Leizerov. “Being part of the IAPP Professional Privacy Faculty enables Ernst & Young to bring CIPP training to our clients in the comfort of their own offices.”
As employers, Ernst & Young member firms place a premium on IAPP certification. “The certification helps us create a truly professional group because the people who obtain it are much more motivated to maintain their privacy knowledge,” says Leizerov. The CIPP is one of only a few certifications that are on a list of certification requirements for promotion to management positions within the organization.
Ongoing Education and Continued Thought Leadership
Ernst & Young is committed to staying on top of the changing privacy landscape through a variety of approaches, all geared toward ongoing privacy education. Member firms regularly hold internal training programs for employees, as well as events for clients and industry leaders that offer continuing privacy education credits. “We have a growing number of professionals worldwide that have trained for and earned IAPP privacy certification and are now part of our ever-growing practice,” explains Leizerov. “These professionals stay in touch, maintain their certification and obtain their CPEs on a regular basis in order to stay on top of privacy issues.”
Ernst & Young is also continuing to collaborate with the IAPP on updating and expanding the IAPP certification programs as marketplace needs continue to evolve.