As the summer months roll in, organisations face a challenging time. With many of their employees on annual leave, they are often left with fewer resources.
Data privacy teams in particular must ensure that they are adequately staffed to meet daily operational demands and maintain compliance with regulations.
In this blog, we will explore the difficulties faced by data privacy teams during the summer holidays and provide strategies to tackle them.
Ignoring risks can have detrimental effects
While some colleagues are away soaking up the sun, those left behind can find themselves struggling to keep up with the workload. For data privacy teams, this can lead to a host of issues, such as:
Not acting on DPIAs (data protection impact assessments) promptly, causing an activity to be delayed or continuing without carrying out a proper risk assessment;
Failing to respond to DSARs (data subject access requests) within the one-month limit, potentially leading to action from the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) or reputational damage;
Delays to annual supply chain audits, leaving risky activities running for longer; and
Other departments not getting timely responses from the data privacy team, meaning they stop asking altogether.
Best practice for protecting data with fewer staff on the ground
Ensuring your data privacy team prioritises its workload will go a long way to mitigating risk during periods with fewer staff available. Here are some other things to consider over the next few weeks:
Data privacy staff should have access to all incoming requests – do they arrive in a central inbox or will other mailboxes need monitoring?
There may be temporary or new staff elsewhere in the organisation who need training on who to contact with data protection queries.
Your team should be regularly checking all avenues for DPIAs and DSARs to ensure they are dealt with in a timely manner.
There should be a clear prioritisation of projects, and staff going on annual leave should provide thorough handovers of their work.
Bring an expert, temporary data protection professional into your team
If the above strategies will still leave data protection risks unchecked, it’s time to consider bringing in a temporary consultant.
An interim consultant from DQM GRC will reassure customers and stakeholders that data protection is a priority. Our professionals are fully qualified with relevant industry experience, enabling them to hit the ground running and provide immediate support.
The time the consultants are in place can vary, depending on your needs. Some organisations only require support for a few weeks, such as over the summer, while others may need ongoing support for several years.
We handle everything for you, and the consultant remains on our payroll but receives their tasks from you, making it a useful way to cover workload without increasing your headcount.
Please contact us today if you feel a temporary data protection professional could provide invaluable support to your organisation.
Our interim consultants are also an excellent way to:
Cover a skills gap after someone leaves while you search for a permanent recruit;
Cover maternity and paternity leave; and
Bring in a specialist in a certain area that your team may be lacking, e.g. data transfer risk assessments.