A Data Protection Officer, or DPO, is an expert in European data protection and can help guide an organisation through the process to achieve GDPR compliance through the following activity:
- Advising organisations on how to achieve and maintain compliance
- Monitoring compliance and assist in training and raising awareness of good practice
- Carrying out and facilitating audits
- Acting as intermediaries between relevant stakeholders
- Acting as the immediate point of contact with the supervisory authority in the case of a breach, audit or any issues relating to GDPR
So, what must be taken into account to ensure DPOs are both empowered and impartial when integrated into your organisation?
Within your organisation, it is essential for the DPO to be included in a range of organisational activities, including:
- All issues which relate to the protection of personal data
- Reporting to the highest management level
- Participating regularly in meetings of senior and middle management
- Decision-making around data protection
- Next steps when a data breach or another incident has occurred
Ultimately, the opinion of the DPO must always be given due weight by your organisation. Where there is an instance of disagreement with the DPO, as good practice, these disagreements must be clearly documented with reasoning as to why their advice hasn’t been followed.
Within your organisation, the DPO must be supported in performing tasks and provided with the resources necessary to carry them out, such as access to personal data and processing operations. This support would include:
- Active support of the DPO’s function in your organisation by senior management
- The ability to have sufficient time to carry out their tasks
- Access to financial, infrastructure (premises, facilities, equipment) and staff resources
- The official communication of their appointment to all staff
- Access to other services within the organisation to be able to receive essential support, input or information from
- Continuous training
Threats and coercion
Within your organisation, you must ensure that the DPO does not receive any instructions regarding the exercising of the tasks they are carrying out, or are subject to any dismissal or penalties.
Data subjects must be able to contact the DPO regarding all issues relating to processing of their personal data and to exercise their rights under GDPR.
It is imperative to be aware that the DPO is bound by confidentiality concerning the performance of their tasks. This ensures that details that may identify data subjects or information provided by data subjects (without their consent) are not communicated to others.
Conflicts of interest
The DPO may have other tasks and duties, but it must be ensured that these do not result in conflict of interests. For example, the DPO must not hold a position within your organisation (such as senior management) that leads to him or her determining the purposes and means of the processing of personal data.
Data Protection Officer as a Service (DPOaaS)
Falanx Cyber’s DPOaaS offers your organisation a range of advisory and consultancy services in which we will advise on how you can prepare, plan and implement strategies for GDPR or DPO requirements.
Our DPO will assist your organisation internally on all matters relating to privacy and data protection as well as GDPR compliance. The DPO will take over privacy and data protection tasks, staff training, and can serve as an independent expert both internally as well as towards customers or the Data Protection Authorities.
Interested in finding out how a DPO could benefit your organisation? Get in touch with our team to arrange a free assessment of your organisation and establish which aspects of our services can help you most.
Find out more about the role of a DPO in our previous blog – Do you need a Data Protection Officer (DPO)?