Understanding Data Protection Landscape – Key Roles In Data Privacy

As the world focuses more stringently on data privacy and security and with the advent of GDPR and other similar regulations, data governance has become one of the most important concerns for many businesses. This crucial concern has not only guided businesses to implement new operational and technical measures but has also inspired a sea change in the way businesses are structured, right from the most basic level all the way to top management. 

For your business, an important prerequisite for getting data privacy right would be to create the right data governance structure and hierarchy. This would include understanding different key roles in data privacy, what these roles entail, and how their levels of responsibility can vary in executive, strategic, tactical, operational, and support capacities. Here we discuss some common data governance roles and their responsibilities to inspire a more complete understanding of the data protection landscape. 

Data Protection Officer 

A Data Protection Officer role is a leadership position concerning data governance that comes with a unique set of characteristics and responsibilities. While a DPO would be required to report to senior management directly, the role also provides total independence. Their employed would be obligated to provide them with every resource, support, and information necessary to carry out the role effectively. 

For public sector organizations and private businesses that store and use personal data, having a DPO is also legally mandated in the GDPR. The main role of the DPO is to help an organization meet GDPR requirements. The role entails: 

  • Monitoring of GDPR compliance and advising regarding GDPR obligations 
  • Arranging for training and awareness-building of the latest data privacy best practices 
  • Managing overall data protection and assigning responsibilities and priorities according to risk 
  • Providing advice regarding the right process to follow in the event of data breaches or public complaints.
  • Acting as liaison with the public and regulatory authorities on data governance issues 

Chief Privacy Officer 

A Chief Privacy Officer is a senior executive at the highest level of management. The job, unlike that of the DPO, is not clearly defined in the GDPR, allowing it to assume other monikers. The essence of the responsibilities of a CPO is to steer and direct your data privacy strategies both in the short and long term. 

More and more businesses have woken up to the idea of making a CPO an integral part of top management in recent years. A CPO would also view data privacy as a means to add value to the business, improve public perception, and gain advantage in competitive markets. 

Responsibilities can include: 

  • Trust building for businesses with customers concerned with data privacy 
  • Acting as a media liaison on data privacy matters 
  • Increasing the overall awareness of data privacy inside the business 
  • Monitoring and enhancing data privacy measures continuously 
  • Researching and learning about the latest data privacy developments 

Data Subject 

Data Subject refers to individuals that can be directly or indirectly identified within your data through the use of an identifier. Identifiers can include personal information like names, ID numbers, or locations. They can also encompass demographical, economic, cultural, and social details. 

Data Steward 

A Data Steward position entails being responsible with oversight on the quality and consistency of data. In most cases, Data Stewards will be the ones creating the data quality rules that are used in the analysis and measurement of data. Their routine, daily responsibilities include responding to queries relating to the data they oversee, especially those regarding usage, definition, organization, standardization, and access. 

Chief Data Officer 

A Chief Data Officer is meant to ensure that your organization keeps getting the most value from its data assets. The CDO is responsible for data governance and utilization across the entire organization. As a rule, the CDO needs to understand the finer nuances of the business and its strategies and focus on those aspects while dealing with data governance. 

Data Controller 

The Data Controller is a person, agency, or entity that both holds personal data and is responsible for it. The responsibilities lie mainly in the terms of data collection. This can include gathering user consent, storing data, managing the revoking of consent, and dealing with access requests. 

Any Data Controller needs to demonstrate an ability to keep to the relevant principles regarding the collection and processing of personal information. It is the responsibility of the controller to ensure that this is done legally, fairly, and transparently. 

Data Processor 

A data processor, on the other hand, acts on behalf of a Data Controller in the processing of data. This means that any person, agency, or entity that holds and processes data while the responsibility of it lies with another party can be labeled a data processor. 

Data Broker 

Data Brokers collect and store data from a variety of different sources. Their task is to collect this data, cleanse it, analyze it, and license the data to other entities. This data can contain multiple kinds of personal identifiers and can be licensed to businesses that need it for specific and limited use cases. 

In Conclusion 

With a deeper insight into some of these important roles in data privacy and protection, you can develop a more nuanced understanding of the complex and layered nature of data governance and begin to establish these roles and their related responsibilities in your own business. This can pave the way towards productive, efficient, and responsible data use while remaining compliant.