January 7th, 2021 · 3 minute read

Data Protection Officer - Your Competitive Advantage

Updated: January 29th, 2021

Data Protection Officer - Central Role to SuccessEstablishing a Data Protection Officer is not just a requirement but a Competitive Advantage.


Organizations that handle, analyze, collect, and process user data need to appoint a Data Protection Officer. This requirement was created to implement the GDPR provisions in Europe and smart addition to any organization to manage sensitive data.


DPO are typically responsible for coordinating communications for breach notifications and ensuring the organization complies with the provisions of the GDPR.


The DPO provides a central contact for any stakeholder to contact the organization, make inquiries on personally identifiable information, and ensure a voice for customers and key stakeholders to address data concerns.


Despite these fundamental aspects of the DPO role, the role is still largely unknown, but also continues to grow in scope as well as importance:  


Responsibilities of the Data Protection Officer 

  • Advocate within the organization for the responsibilities in handling sensitive data.
  • Monitor and audit compliance with data regulations and internal use standards.
  • Provide advice as to the use and storage of PII and any sensitive data assets.
  • Act as a contact point for internal and external authorities in both information requests and disaster response. 

Based on these responsibilities, having a dedicated or virtual Data Protection Officer makes good practical business sense—even if your company is not required to have one. Most large organizations have a dedicated in-house Data Protection Officer.  The role can be a part of an existing role such as legal or the IT leadership; however, SMB organizations can also choose to contract a Virtual DPO, which can be provided by a managed service provider. Virtual can often be the best option, especially with a proven service provider. They have access to multiple resources abreast of the latest technology and have an inherent need to stay current with new privacy regulations' continual evolutions. 


Evolution of the Data Protection Officer


While the DPO role is traditionally a compliance role, organizations can also realize a competitive advantage using a confident DPO. Providing strong outward communication, contact, and dedication to protecting privacy data can also build trust within your customers and partners. Increasingly, as regulations continue to grow and the frequency of occurrences of data breaches and poor custodianship of personal data increases, consumers and partners will increasingly seek out organizations that are proven and trusted advocates for protecting their data.


Find your Data Protection Officer

As mentioned earlier, you don't necessarily need to hire a new role to fill the DPO responsibilities. In fact, you may actually have the right individual in your organization already. Look internally at your IT, Legal, Product, Customer Success, and other areas where communication and data coincide. Look for confident people dedicated to the protection of data, and advocate for your customers. 



With more and more data utilized and created every day and the importance of data protection increasing for organizations regardless of size, the DPO is essential. As consumers and partners are increasingly interested in protecting their identities and data, the DPO and the responsibilities of the role provide an organization the opportunity to realize a real competitive advantage. Seize the opportunity.


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