Over Half of Privacy Pros Expecting Reduced Budgets in 2024, Sparking Concerns

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#isaca–The past year saw developments and updates to privacy regulations across the globe—from India’s Personal Data Protection Bill to Brazil’s General Data Protection Law. However, only 34 percent of organizations say they find it easy to understand their privacy obligations and only 43 percent are very or completely confident in their organization’s privacy team’s ability to ensure data privacy and achieve compliance with new privacy laws and regulations, according to ISACA’s Privacy in Practice 2024 survey report.

More than 1,300 global professionals in data privacy roles responded to the survey, weighing in on privacy topics such as staffing, organization structure, policies, budgets and training.

Privacy Challenges

In addition to difficulty understanding the privacy regulatory landscape, organizations also face other data privacy challenges, including budget. Nearly half of respondents (43 percent) say their privacy budget is underfunded and only 36 percent say their budget is appropriately funded. When looking at the year ahead, only 24 percent say that they expect budget will increase (down 10 points from last year), and only one percent say it will remain the same (down 26 points from last year). Over half (51 percent) expect a decrease in budget, which is significantly higher than last year when only 12 percent expected a decrease in budget.

For those seeking resources, technical privacy positions are in highest demand, with 62 percent of respondents indicating there will be increased demand for technical privacy roles in the next year, compared to 55 percent for legal/compliance roles. However, respondents indicate there are skills gaps among these privacy professionals; they cite experience with different types of technologies and/or applications (63 percent) as the biggest one.

When looking at common privacy failures, respondents pinpointed the lack of or poor training (49 percent), not practicing privacy by design (44 percent) and data breaches (42 percent) as the main concerns.

“When privacy teams face limited budgets and skills gaps among their workforce, it can be even more difficult to stay on top of ever evolving and expanding data privacy regulations and even increase the risk of data breaches,” says Safia Kazi, ISACA principal, privacy professional practices. “By understanding where these challenges lie, organizations can take the necessary measures to remedy them and change course to strengthen their privacy teams and programs.”

Taking Action

One of the ways that organizations are mitigating both workforce gaps and privacy failures is through training. Half of respondents (50 percent) note they are training to allow non-privacy staff to move into privacy roles, while 39 percent are increasing usage of contract employees or outside consultants.

With employee training, 86 percent indicate their organization provides privacy awareness training for employees, with 66 percent providing training to all employees annually, and 52 percent of respondents providing privacy awareness training to new hires. Interestingly, respondents note that their organizations are most often looking at the number of employees completing training (65 percent) as the main metric used to track effectiveness of privacy training, not a decrease in privacy incidents (56 percent).

Despite the challenges faced, 63 percent of organizations say they did not have a material privacy breach in the past 12 months, and 18 percent are not seeing a change in the number of breaches they are experiencing. Respondents are also optimistic: less than one in five (16 percent) say they expect a material privacy breach in the next 12 months.

Value of Privacy by Design

Organizations that practice privacy by design experience some key advantages:

  • They have more employees in privacy roles (median staff size 15 vs. nine among all respondents) and are more likely to say their technical privacy department is appropriately staffed (42 percent vs. 34 percent among all respondents).
  • They strongly believe their board of directors prioritizes organization privacy (77 percent vs. 57 percent total).
  • They are much less likely to see organizational privacy programs as purely compliance driven (35 percent vs. 44 percent total), and more likely as a combination of compliance, ethics and competitive advantage (39 percent vs. 29 percent total).
  • Feel their privacy budget is appropriately funded (50% vs. 36% total)

Ultimately, organizations that always practice privacy by design are also much more likely to be very or completely confident in their organization’s privacy team’s ability to ensure data privacy and achieve compliance with new privacy laws and regulations (71 percent versus 43 percent).

Kazi and Jon Brandt, ISACA director, professional practices & innovation for content development and services, will discuss further in an upcoming webinar, The State of Privacy 2024, taking place 25 January at 12:00 PM (ET) / 11:00 AM (CT) / 9:00 AM (PT) / 16:00 (UTC). It is free for members and US$75 for non-members and will be available on-demand for a year afterward. To register, visit https://store.isaca.org/s/community-event?id=a334w000006C7rMAAS.

The complimentary Privacy in Practice 2024 survey report can be accessed at www.isaca.org/privacy-in-practice-2024


ISACA® (www.isaca.org) is a global professional association and learning organization that leverages the expertise of its 170,000 members who work in digital trust fields such as information security, governance, assurance, risk, privacy and quality. It has a presence in 188 countries, including 225 chapters worldwide. Through its foundation One In Tech, ISACA supports IT education and career pathways for underresourced and underrepresented populations.


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Emily Ayala, +1.847.660.5512

Bridget Drufke, +1.847.660.5554