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5 challenges in the life of a data protection officer

5 challenges in the life of a data protection officer

Introduction

After surveying over 250 Data Protection Officers (DPOs), CPO Magazine released a report stating that “Nearly one in four (23%) of DPOs said their main challenge was obtaining sufficient resources for their work, and an additional 13% said they did not have the support of management. Taken together, that’s over 40% of DPOs saying that their organization is not adequately prioritizing data security.” It is quite a large amount of data for any DPO working in an organization.

 

A DPO  is known as an employee of a company responsible for confirming that a company complies with data protection laws. They are also responsible for advising you on how to comply with these laws and also help you manage any data breaches that may happen. They can also help you avoid getting fined by the GDPR or any other data protection law. They will also help you avoid any potential lawsuits from customers, employees, or anyone else who has been affected by a data breach in your company.

 

Data Protection Officers also have to ensure that the data being collected and stored by their company is completely safe and free from any type of threat. The challenges faced by a data protection officer can be quite challenging. They have to make sure that they understand all the aspects of the GDPR, and other concerned data protection laws applicable to the company, and make sure that they are not violating any of the data protection requirements, and finally they have to ensure that their company is compliant with all the applicable data protection laws.

 

This article will give you an insight about the top five challenges that every DPO has faced while performing their duties. They are as follows:

1. Lack of Resources

According to the data mentioned by the CPO magazine, the DPOs still do not have a proper privacy team. If the privacy team is not provided with proper training along with right resources, the team members will struggle with their work and be unable to keep up with their tasks. 

 

 DPOs also have to perform operational tasks that require a lot of learning and training. Hence, the team members should be guided and trained properly by the top management to overcome this challenge.

2. Wide range of responsibilities

From educating to coaching all the members of the organization on the topic of data privacy issues, a DPO has many responsibilities. They have to address access requests made by consumers, interact with the nearby regulators, handle data and monitor compliance which can be overwhelming for them. So, the DPO has to prioritize the tasks that require urgent attention and give less importance to the tasks that are not a priority.

3. Zero cooperation among other organizational units

Being a DPO is no easy task, and their hands are always full. They have to uphold data protection laws and practices, monitor compliance, support business operations and data handling, notify other teams and authorities about the data breaches, and foster security-aware culture. It is also impossible for a single person who is a DPO to handle everything on their own which is why it is crucial to divide all the tasks among other organizational units to balance the workload. This way they can cooperate with the other units, too.

 

So it is essential that other organizational units cooperate with the DPO to identify the problems and work on them together to ensure a better working environment for them. It would also be helpful if the top management could lend a helping hand to the DPOs as that would help them immensely.

4. Failure to receive support from key stakeholders

The most challenging part when it comes to being a DPO is that they don’t receive any form of support or guidance from the key stakeholders of that organization. This results to a lot of miscommunication between the DPO and the organization. 

 

The DPO also has to rely on the key stakeholders like the CMO, Head of IT, and any business owner to make the privacy program of that organization successful. DPOs cannot function properly without these crucial people to supply bullet-proof data compliance.

 

Due to this reason, the DPO has to communicate properly with the key stakeholders to receive support for their strategy. Companies and organizations should make sure that they have properly discussed the terms, conditions, and duties with the DPO to overcome this challenge. 

5. Unstructured Data

Unstructured data is termed as information that is unorganized and does not have a fixed data model. It’s like unmanaged data that is like a nightmare for every DPO who is out there working on it. It is text-heavy and contains text-based information such as date, place, etc. It cannot be stored in any form of predefined rational data structure and neither can it be organized or processed properly. According to Waterford Technologies “Unstructured data accounts for approximately 80% of data.” This makes the job of a DPO extremely difficult.

 

The primary cause of unstructured data in an organization is the pdf files, documents, files folders, spreadsheets, etc. Due to their unorganized nature and volume, it becomes challenging for companies and DPO to comply with the GDPR requirements. So, it is necessary to develop strategies and techniques to recognize unstructured data and take the correct steps to rectify it.

Final Thoughts

Being a DPO is quite challenging. They have to fulfill many responsibilities that include monitoring data protection compliance, informing and advising organizations about data protections obligations, suggesting on DPIAs, and many more. It requires a lot of experience, learning, strong leadership qualities, communication skilss, discipline, and patience to become a DPO.

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Upskill yourself
with these courses

Upskill yourself
with these courses

Certified Information Privacy Technology

Certified Information Privacy Manager

Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States

Certified Information PrivacyProfessional/Europe

Data Protection Officer Certification

Data Privacy Fundamentals

Certified Tsaaro Data Protection Officer Course

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