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:
- Keep records of all data gathering activities
- Educate and train staff on all matters data privacy and data security
- Ensure compliance with GDPR
- Conduct audits to ensure compliance
- 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.
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.