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6 good reasons to call on an outsourced DPO

Updated: Mar 15

When it comes to GDPR compliance, and the compliance actions that will be required, there are two options. It is possible to internalise this expertise, and entrust an organisation's GDPR compliance actions to an in-house employee, but it is also possible to outsource this skill, and call in an outsourced DPO expert.

The role of the DPO is crucial in ensuring and maintaining an organisation's compliance with the GDPR. In particular, the DPO is responsible for:

  • Informing and advising the organisation responsible for processing (or the processor) and their employees;

  • Monitoring compliance with data protection regulations (compliance with the GDPR, but also with national data protection law);

  • Advising the organisation on carrying out a data protection impact assessment (PIA) and checking that it has been carried out (for more details on PIA, see our blog post on the subject);

  • Be the point of contact for data subjects affected by data processing carried out by the organisation.

So why should organisations outsource this function? What are the benefits of using an outsourced DPO as part of an organisation's regulatory compliance with the GDPR?

DPO externalisé
Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Benefit no. 1: an outsourced DPO is an expert in data protection

And therein lies the advantage of outsourcing this function: data protection and regulatory compliance with the GDPR are areas of expertise that require technical, legal and governance skills and knowledge. It's a very special kind of expertise!

It is important to note that the GDPR is a single text, applicable to many very different organisations! So it is also necessary to be able to interpret this regulatory text, it is essential to understand the importance and challenges of complying with the GDPR, as well as the objectives of this text, so as to adapt it to the specific context of the organisation.

This is a difficult task for an employee who has no experience as DPO. It is essential for a DPO to be able to understand the organisation precisely, the data processing carried out and the dangers this poses, as well as the issues and objectives of this data processing, so as to adapt the compliance actions accordingly, and to support the organisation in achieving regulatory compliance, while enabling it to continue its day-to-day activities.

Understanding the GDPR, implementing it and adapting the texts to an organisation's context and challenges are all areas of expertise in their own right, and cannot be delegated lightly.

Calling on an outsourced DPO gives you access to technical, legal and governance expertise, so that you can be guided effectively towards long-term regulatory compliance.

Benefit no. 2: an outsourced DPO is independent and impartial

This is a pre-requisite imposed by the CNIL: there can be no conflict of interest with the tasks performed by the DPO appointed internally. For example, it would be formally forbidden to appoint a managing director, an IS manager (i.e. an information system manager) or an HR manager as DPO of their organisation insofar as, given their position, they would then be both judge and party (since they would be responsible for determining the purposes and means of processing the data they themselves process). The temptation to do "the simplest thing possible" rather than "the most compliant thing possible" could then be great!

So, by calling in an outsourced DPO, you can be sure that the expert will be totally impartial: not only will your compliance with the GDPR be all the better for it, but it will also send out a very good message to the CNIL investigators!

Benefit no. 3: an outsourced DPO reduces compliance costs

It may seem a little counter-intuitive, but there's no denying that outsourcing to a DPO can reduce an organisation's compliance costs.

It's worth remembering that expertise in GDPR compliance and personal data protection is expertise in its own right, acquired through training and experience. So an expert outsourced DPO will enable you to cut compliance costs, since he or she will be able to work much more quickly and efficiently than an in-house employee who does not have this experience. What's more, an expert outsourced DPO is already trained in his or her job, so there's no need to spend extra time (and budget) training an employee in DPO duties.

In this way, too, each employee can concentrate his or her time and efforts on the tasks of their workstation, enabling the organisation to avoid wasting production time.

Benefit no. 4: an outsourced DPO reduces the risk of non-compliance

As explained above, the GDPR is a single text that applies to all organisations, private and public, small and large, and from every country in the world, as long as they process the personal data of European Union citizens.

So you understand that, depending on the activity, the offering and the needs of an organisation, this text can hardly be applied in exactly the same way to everyone!

The GDPR also involves a great deal of interpretation, a precise understanding of the objectives and issues at stake, and a full grasp of the importance of the issues involved in protecting personal data, so that informed decisions can be made that make sense for the people affected by the processing of personal data and for the organisation involved.

Using the services of an outsourced DPO can considerably reduce the risks of non-compliance: the experienced outsourced DPO will be able to provide relevant and appropriate advice to enable the organisation to continue its normal activities while remaining compliant with the regulations.

Benefit no. 5: an outsourced DPO has the time needed to carry out compliance actions

This benefit is not insignificant. As mentioned in point number 3 above, using an outsourced DPO means that organisations do not have to waste any of their employees' production time. Indeed, an employee who is given the role of DPO is an employee who takes time out of his or her working day to discover, learn, interpret, implement and monitor their organisation's compliance with the GDPR. Sometimes, the employees appointed to this role are desperately short of time to carry out these tasks satisfactorily. This dual role has an impact not only on the organisation's regulatory compliance, which is not optimal, but also on the productivity of the employee, who takes time away from production to carry out his or her duties as DPO!

Calling in an outsourced DPO therefore allows your employees to remain focused on their job, and on the tasks that generate value for the company, while delegating this function to a professional who will have the time (and resources) needed to carry out the task properly.

Benefit no. 6: an outsourced DPO goes faster

And finally, with an outsourced DPO everything goes faster! Not only because they have the knowledge, skills and expertise needed to carry out their tasks quickly and to a high standard, but also because they have templates ready to use for just about everything!

Using an outsourced DPO means that you benefit from procedures and templates that you don't have to think about or create! This means you don't have to keep (re)inventing processes: the outsourced DPO already has his own procedures and templates, which can be easily adapted to suit the organisation, its activity and its specific characteristics, so you can work much faster and much more efficiently!

To conclude

Calling on the services of an outsourced DPO is not an obligation: the DPO's duties can perfectly well be entrusted to an in-house employee (as long as their position in the company does not conflict with their DPO duties).

However, investing in expert support from an outsourced DPO is particularly beneficial: the DPO is a job in its own right, with skills and expertise that cannot be improvised overnight.

By entrusting their compliance and maintenance tasks to an expert DPO, organisations benefit from significant time and resource savings, as well as a higher level of regulatory compliance with the GDPR!


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