Data Protection Officer

A Data Protection Officer is a role that’s required for many businesses under GDPR, and recommended for any data-reliant business.
data protection officer

What’s a Data Protection Officer and why are their activities important?

A Data Protection Officer is a role that’s required for many businesses under GDPR, and recommended for any data-reliant business. Some of the key roles of a DPO include the following:

  1. Keep records of all data gathering activities
  2. Educate and train staff on all matters data privacy and data security
  3. Ensure compliance with GDPR
  4. Conduct audits to ensure compliance
  5. Communicate and establish relationships with GDPR Supervising Authorities

Is my business required to have a DPO?

As stated in GDPR, businesses that process and use personal data must employ a DPO to manage overall compliance with the sweeping regulation. A DPO functions similarly to a compliance officer for an organization except they are governed by the EU. For businesses that are outside of the EU, a DPO might not be legally required, but they are still essential for overseeing a best-in-class data operation. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) does not require that an organization appoint a DPO. However, a DPO may be seen as suitable or even essential for overseeing CCPA-related compliance tasks.

What is the role of the DPO?

DPOs can be individuals working within an organization, or belong to a third party group. Either way, DPOs must hold expert knowledge of GDPR and data protection to perform their duties. In the case of a data breach, DPOs are on the front lines, reporting the breaches to the authorities. Even before a breach instance, DPOs play a key role in the management of how an organization deploys their resources to adhere to the law.

What should you look for in a DPO?

DPO is one of the most respected positions in the data privacy profession. As required by the GDPR, DPOs must report directly to C-suite level staff of an organization as their role is of the utmost importance. They serve as the main point of contact for an organization’s privacy law compliance.

Article 39 of GDPR explicitly states that DPO’s must: “serve as main contact for the supervisory authority.”

In non-GDPR jurisdictions, the appointment of a DPO can centralize privacy responsibility and decision-making in a way that greatly enhances compliance capabilities within a business.

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