General Data Protection Regulation has been enforced since 25th May 2018. So if you have still not hired a data protection officer, this guide should help you. It is a complete guide for hiring a Data Protection Officer (DPO) under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We’ll go step by step to help you with all the questions regarding a Data Protection Officer.
Data Protection Officer is the professional responsible for the data protection activities and implementation of measures inside the company. They hold the security leadership role in charge of overseeing data protection strategy and implementation to ensure compliance with GDPR requirements. They directly report to the senior management, managing directors, and CEO of the company.
According to the text, you need a data protection officer if:
What are the basic responsibilities of a Data Protection Officer?
The Data Protection Officer should have the following responsibilities:
This means a data protection officer is a coordinator between the controller/processor and the supervisory authority. They are also responsible to respond to data subjects that is the consumers/customers of the company. Under the GDPR, Data Subjects can request access to their data that is collected and processed.
In line with the responsibilities mentioned above, this section now highlights how the responsibilities mentioned above turn into tasks. The DPO has to ensure that the data protection rules are respected in cooperation with the data protection authority (for the EU institutions and bodies, this is the EDPS). In the EU institution and bodies, the DPO must:
There are no exact qualifications written in the law. But the law does say, “The data protection officer shall be designated on the basis of professional qualities and, in particular, expert knowledge of data protection law and practices”. The data protection officer should have at least 30-60 hours of training to understand the law and its requirements. You can get your Data Protection Officer trained at the following places:
Since there is no exact criteria, our suggestion is that adequate training or certification of a certain number of hours should help you. If your data protection officer is a lawyer by profession it would make training easier.
What do we have to do to support the DPO?
You must ensure that:
This shows the importance of the DPO to your organization and that you must provide sufficient support so they can carry out their role independently. Part of this is the requirement for your DPO to report to the highest level of management. This doesn’t mean the DPO has to be line managed at this level but they must have direct access to give advice to senior managers who are making decisions about personal data processing.
As a controller or processor, the following are the best practices for hiring a data protection officer:
In principle, a company can appoint a Data Protection Officer both internally by assigning the role to an employee and externally in the person of a service provider. The decisive criterion should always be the necessary expertise and reliability that a DPO needs in order to be able to properly fulfill the intended tasks. But what distinguishes an internal from an external data protection officer? We would like to explain the differences on the basis of essential dimensions such as competence, liability and dismissal protection. In addition, to enable you to directly compare the costs of an internal and external data protection officer, we use a fictional calculation to show you how your company’s investment in data protection could be structured.
If you assign an Internal Company Data Protection Supervisor (DPO), the managing director hands over the task of DPO to an employee of the company. If an internal employee meets all the necessary requirements, they can be appointed as an internal data protection officer. After the appeal to the internal DPO, the employee is under protection against dismissal and has rights to further claims, such as their own equipment or training. However, if a company data protection officer is appointed, who does not have the required skills, this is treated by law as if no privacy officer would be present in the company.
In contrast to the internal data protection officer, the external DPO is a certified data protection expert who is available to your company as a service provider. The high level of expertise of an external data protection officer guarantees the best protection for your company. With a transparent cost structure, contractually agreed prices and a variable contract period, the external data protection officer takes care of your business quickly and efficiently, thus protecting you from high fines.
First of all, internal and external DPOs can be distinguished with regard to the costs incurred. While for internal data protection officers the company has to pay for education and training, as well as the acquisition of literature from the company, in addition to the regular salary. Your company benefits from the transparent cost structure in the case of an external DPO since all services and costs are contractually defined.
In terms of competence, an internal DPO first has to undergo time-consuming and costly further training measures to gain the specialist knowledge if they are not already specialized in the field. An external DPO, on the other hand, can showcase certified and immediately retrievable expertise from the beginning of the cooperation. In contrast, however, the internal DPO has advantages in terms of training, as the operating procedures are generally already known, while an external DPO must first familiarize themselves with the operational procedures and processes.
If there is a momentous error based on the consultation with the data protection officer, for e.g.misuse of customer data, an internal DPO is liable with the limited employee liability which results in the full liability of the manager. In contrast, an external DPO is liable for its advice and thus minimizes risks for the company.
Already with the order of an operational data protection officer already a possible, later notice should be considered. An internal DPO is subject to special protection against dismissal, which is comparable to the position of the works council. However, the commissioning of the external data protection officer can be terminated on time.
We would like to explain this to you in more detail with a table:
Based on our experience of talking to hundreds of data protection officers, the average cost in Europe for a data protection officer depends on the hourly rate. The data protection officer without a legal background would cost around 100-200€ per hour. If your data protection officer is a lawyer, then they would cost around 300-500€ per hour. There are many data protection officers who work based on the hourly rate in a year or package basis per month. If you are hiring an external data protection officer, keep in mind that if the rate is really low then remember either that they have many clients so you won’t get individual attention or consulting. If they’re a big brand then, probably you’re paying a lot but still getting less attention.
Here’s a sample Appointment Letter for a DPO from ECOMPLY.io
Ms. Sample – Data Protection Officer –
Sample Street 2
The ACME LLC herewith and with immediate effect appoints Ms Sample as the Data Protection Officer – as stipulated in Article 37 GDPR referencing § 38 BDSG-neu for our company. To facilitate the execution of this role as Data Protection Officer, he/she shall report directly to management, specifically NAME_MANAGING_DIRECTOR.
Ms. Sample is entrusted with providing consultancy services and ad-hoc spot checks to ensure company-wide adherence to the provisions of the GDPR and to further data protection regulations.
In concrete terms, his/her duties shall be derived from the GDPR and shall, specifically, be aligned with Article 39 GDPR.
Ms. Sample shall act without being subject to supervisory instruction in the application of expertise in the area of data protection and shall be supported by management in his/her executional endeavors. To this end, he/she may consult the data protection regulatory authority responsible for our company whenever clarification is required.
Representing the management:
Place, Date Signature Managing Director
I approve of my appointment to Data Protection Officer:
Signature Data Protection Officer
If you have any further questions or want to know how we can help your DPO, book a demo with us!
by Hauke Holtkamp