When deciding to outsource DPO services in a tech business, understanding how to choose the right outsourced DPO for your category of tech business is essential.
With the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), tech businesses have had to take their data protection measures more seriously. One aspect of ensuring GDPR compliance is to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). There are several benefits to outsourcing that role within a tech business, which we covered in this recent blog.
However, how does one ensure that they are choosing the right DPO for their tech business? Firstly, it’s essential to understand the role of a DPO. A DPO should help you ensure that your business complies with data protection laws and regulations. They will also be the point of contact for data subjects and supervisory authorities. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose the right DPO who has experience in data protection and privacy laws and regulations relevant to your industry and its activities. For example, a cloud-based customer analytics provider will need to comply with specific rules for data processors, whereas a retail app provider will need to rely on performance of contracts with their customers as a lawful basis for the processing of personal data.
A DPO should have experience in data protection and privacy laws and regulations, as well as knowledge of your specific industry.
When selecting an outsourced DPO, you should consider their qualifications and experience within your particular industry. They should have a good understanding of the processes within your tech business, and be able to identify potential risks. Additionally, they should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to communicate with data subjects and supervisory authorities alike. For example, Fintech companies process a large amount of personal data, such as customer names, addresses, and payment details and in some cases they have a legal obligation to keep specific categories of personal data for a certain period of time. An outsourced DPO with experience in the finance industry can help these companies both comply with data protection regulations and reassure the customers regarding the security of their data.
It is essential to consider the DPO’s reputation and track record. An experienced DPO should also be able to provide references from other clients in the same industry.
Before selecting an outsourced DPO, it is important to have an understanding and reasonable expectations of their availability and fee schedule.
An outsourced DPO should provide reasonable expectations of their availability, and be available to respond to any data protection queries or incidents promptly. They should also be able to provide ongoing support to your staff. Therefore, you should ensure that the DPO you choose has the resources and capacity to provide timely and efficient services, particularly during data breaches or other emergencies.
An example of the above are Healthtech companies which provide technology solutions for the healthcare industry. These companies process special categories of personal data, such as medical records and patient information. In the event of a data breach, which affects health data and other special categories of data, an outsourced DPO with experience in the healthcare industry can help these companies to comply with data protection regulations and ensure the security of their patients’ data, as well as handle data breaches quickly and efficiently, particularly in terms of minimising possible adverse effects on data subjects.
You should also ensure that the DPO’s fees are reasonable and within your budget. The cost of an outsourced DPO’s services should be reasonable and transparent. You should also consider the cost of any additional services that may be required, such as data protection impact assessments (DPIAs).
An outsourced DPO should be able to consider your unique challenges as a client, including the size of your team, and be willing to offer a more tailored approach to data protection based on that.
It is important to consider the DPO’s approach to data protection, including the DPO’s perspectives on identifying potential risks and implementing measures to prevent data breaches. However, an outsourced DPO should also be able to adapt to your business needs and organisation and provide a tailored service.
By choosing an outsourced DPO who can adapt to working with a small founders’ team or as part of a large multijurisdictional operation alike, the business is more likely to be able to handle the unique risks and challenges as it grows and develops. For example, Software as a Service (SaaS) companies that provide cloud-based software solutions to their customers often process a large amount of personal data, such as customer details, user-generated content, or payment details. While a DPO may have experience dealing with other SaaS companies, it is important for them to understand that every company is different, and the DPO may need to tailor the approach to your company based on your customer base, be it businesses or consumers, your target market, including the age range of your customers that may cause the specific rules of the UK Children’s Code to apply, and the countries in which you operate, which may now increasingly have their own specific privacy rules.
Your outsourced DPO should also be able to provide specific training tailored to the needs of the different teams or departments within your business.
It is therefore important to discuss your unique challenges with any potential DPO so that special considerations can be made where necessary to suit your business needs.