What makes a good DPO?

Organisations have several options when it comes to appointing a DPO (data protection officer). The position, which is a requirement for many companies under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), can be filled by a current employee, a dedicated expert or a third party.

But how do you know which avenue is best if you don’t know the kind of person best suited for the role? We’ll help you figure that out in this blog, explaining what you should be looking for in a DPO.

The qualities to look for in a DPO

Finding a suitable DPO will almost always be a challenge, because they need a broad range of skills and are involved in every part of an organisation’s data protection framework.

The most obvious starting point is their knowledge of the GDPR. DPOs are required to monitor and advise organisations on their compliance practices, so it’s essential that they have a practical understanding of the Regulation’s requirements.

A good DPO will also have strong soft skills, as they are responsible for communicating with staff, data subjects and supervisory authorities. Remember, the DPO must act independently, being careful not to overstep their boundaries when advising employees on how to comply with the GDPR.

As such, DPOs must learn what they can and cannot say in their role, which is a skill that’s particularly important if they take on the responsibilities of a DPO alongside their existing position.

Do DPOs need to be qualified?

There are no mandatory qualifications to become a DPO, but anyone looking to fill the position should have evidence of their data protection expertise. This might come in the form of a GDPR or DPO qualification.

One of the choices you have when looking for a DPO is to outsource the role to a third party. This allows you to focus on what your business does best without having to worry about whether your DPO is up for the job.

Our DPO as a service solution offers you that option. One of our data protection experts will act as a remote DPO, working with you as and when needed to set your organisation on the right track.

Watch our free webinar

You can find out more about the roles and responsibilities of DPOs by watching our Challenges for data protection officers webinar.

This free presentation features GDPR expert Colin Currie discussing the difficulties that DPOs face when appointed to the role, and provides real-life examples of the types of issues they will have to address.

Currie also discusses the DPO position from an organisation’s perspective, explaining the options management has when filling the role and which one might be right for them.

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