What Qualifications Should Your Data Protection Officer Have?


The recent revision of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has brought forth the need of Data Protection Officers to light. Hiring A Data Protection Officer (DPO) is a necessity and not a mandate. Many of you might be able to make do without a DPO but that’s not true for everyone. Anyways, you must have decided to recruit a DPO or you wouldn’t be here. GDPR data protection officer responsibilities are some serious issues that are not to be taken lightly.

Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Data Protection Officer
Data Protection Officer

A DPO’s role is to keep your data secure and at the same time also ensuring that everything is according to the GDPR compliance. The strategize and implement those strategies in order to comply with the GDPR.

Before we go any further let’s take a look at the what principles an organization has to follow in order to comply with GDPR and the data protection policy.

  1. Being transparent and fair is the primary principle to be followed. Your organization is going to process the data, in the same manner, it has claimed that it will. And that is why an organization needs to be upfront about how the data is going to be processed.
  2. Transparency with data processing is a big factor with the GDPR. The person whose data is being used needs to be aware of exactly how it is being used.
  3. While collecting data make sure that you absolutely need the data. Only collect what you need and only store it for a specific amount of time it is required to complete the task for which the data was collected.
  4. All data should be up to date and precise.
  5. The safety of the data collected is a responsibility of the organization. They are to keep the data secure and ensures that no data leak or data theft ever occurs.

And to answer your “ Do I Need a Data Protection Officer?” question. Yes, if your organization has more than 250 employees then you do.

Even though many of you must have overlooked the need for a DPO and decided to tackle the GDPR hurdle by yourself it will not be easy. You might try to fill the position with less experienced individuals but ultimately they are going to make a mess of things that will spell trouble not just for your clients but your firm as well.

Let’s take a look at the necessary data protection officer qualification. These are general qualifications that are necessary if you looking to hire a DPO:

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Experienced In Global Privacy Laws:

Hiring an experienced individual is the right way to go. The candidate should at least have a five year of experience in handling privacy laws. As the majority of GDPR is centered around the privacy policy it’s a much-needed qualification. The person should also be able to draft privacy policies, outsourcing agreements as well as technology provisions.

Experienced In IT/Programming:

The candidate should at least have 5 years of experience in Information Technology. He/She should be experienced in both IT operations and programming. Data protection is of the utmost importance and therefore you need to hire individuals that know all the nooks and corners of IT. They also need to have knowledge of the certification standards and privacy seals.


The individual needs to have strong leadership skills, client relationship skills, communications skills and negotiations skills. Each of these skills is effective in itself but a DPO needs to have all of them as he/she has to report to the highest level of the management, quite possibly to the CEO.

With this skill set, he/she will be able to handle multiple projects, interact with the necessary interface as well as speak to the various people such as lawyers, the staff, or the board of directors.

Other qualifications that are more person-oriented rather than taught, include the person’s ability to keep in touch with all the new and emerging laws as well as technologies and a drive to be self-learner who is not afraid of gaining required knowledge.

These are the basic qualifications required of the data protection officer that you are looking to hire. Don’t compromise.

Going through the candidate’s qualification is the primary way to verify an individual’s skill set effectively. Because work experience matters. An experienced individual knows what mistakes he/she is not supposed to repeat. A vast experience in the various files might prove to be helpful as well, as it makes the candidate more dynamic and able to handle various different industries without needing an assist from any of his/her colleagues. As the DPO has to deal with people with different perspectives and backgrounds he/she has to be able to understand and interact with those controllers accordingly.

We have covered the primary qualifications that cannot be neglected, you should not have any trouble finding more if necessary.