Data Protection Officer


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a privacy protection provisions that have a great influence and significant implications. The reason for the GDPR laws stems from the need to implement structural changes in organisations, so they remain compliant to the provisions of the GDPR. No one wants to work out of the domains of the GDPR as noncompliance may lead to penalisation and restriction.  One of the prime requirements of GDPR is the appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO). This compliance system with all its obligations is not some law that is new as in most countries such measures are already in place to hire the protection officers and set the industry benchmark. However, this is the first time that GDPR is declared mandatory for all organisations to follow including hiring a data protection officer.

Now it is established that to be GDPR compliant organisations must hire data protection officers. But what does the officer do? What are their prime objectives and job description? Who do the officers report to and what is their role to make sure the organisation functions under GDPR? These are the few questions that the business executive seeks an answer for as they do not want to negate any provisions set by the GDPR.

Here we give you all the details and information that you need to know about a Data Protection Officer.

What is a Data Protection Officer (DPO) Post?

The DOP is a leading position defined in the GDPR papers. The primary function of these officers is to check and make sure that all process and services in the organisations that are required to follow the GDPR documents stay compliant to the GDPR policy. The post is at the executive level and works as a supervisory and lead role in all the data management and security functions of the organisation.

Which Companies Must Hire a DPO?

The following companies must hire a DPO if they want to remain GDPR compliant.

    • Public Authority:

If a public authority or domain is working in the collection processing of user data, then it is mandatory for them to hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO).

    • Core Data processor and control functions:

Organisations whose core activities include the regular and scheduled processing of data must appoint a DPO. If data processing is one of the main operations of an organisation, then it is defined as one of the core activities. For example, the IT unit is the support system, and so does the HR management function as both support the organisation and are not the core operations of the organisations.

Then there is a term 'schedule and regular' which means at scheduled intervals.  As per a defined structure the analysis of data subjects, profiling of the subjects, and so on. It does not matter whether the collection and monitoring of data are done offline or online as both medium will be considered in the purview of the GDPR.

    • Bigger-scale data processor and controllers:

Organisations that work on data processing and analyse data subjects on a bigger-scale must hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO) as this becomes a compulsory requirement. Again as per the provision of article 29, not only the bigger-scale data processing and its volume is taken into consideration, but other factors also need to be checked. These includes:

        • The total of all data subjects
        • Data process volume
        • The duration of data processing
        • The geographical area where the data is under process
    • Processing Critical Data:

Another group of organisations that fall under the scope of the GDPR is those firms that function as data controllers and processors of critical data on a bigger scale. Such data include sensitive information and data collection of children, health-related data, criminal analysis, and so on. If any organisation works on such sensitive data, they are required to hire a DPO. An organisation has the option to hire a DPO voluntarily.

    • Selection, Job Responsibilities, and Obligations of a DPO:

Once the organisation has confirmed whether it must hire a DPO. The next stage is to understand the job roles and job responsibilities of a DPO as per the requirements of GDPR.

  •  The Selection

A DPO should be selected based on professional expertise and more significantly, the awareness and information on all the essential provisions of data protection and private domain. The level of knowledge and expertise of the DPO should be in line with the different data processing operations and the safety required.

  •  The Job Responsibilities

The job duties include all the functions related to the data protection provision and all practices that can are assessed under the ambit of GDPR. They have to build processes and look after the overall security of data and to conduct schedule data protection examination. DPO job duties are exclusive around data operations and data privacy, and as such, they cannot hold any other position in the organisation other than the GDPR data protection officer role.

  •  The Obligation

It is vital that organisations have a complete understanding over who is held responsible in the case there is a violation of GDPR compliance provisions. A Date protection officer cannot be held liable or obligated to penalty as the responsibility lies first in the hands of the data controller and processor. However, it is within the rights of an organisation to appoint or hire another DPO.

  •  The Way Ahead

Every organisation must check whether it is obligatory for them to work under the GDPR and hire a DPO. Even if it is not an obligation, an organisation can appoint a data protection officer for the safe keep and protection of private and confidential data. There are huge financial implications on not following the GDPR provisions with fine going well over €20 million or it can be up to 4% of the Global revenue.

A DPO has an essential role in the success of the whole GDPR system. The organisations that meet all the compliance parameters can focus on their businesses without worrying about violating any law. Having a DPO to monitor all date process and data protection activities are in the best interest of the companies.