Security Expert Interview Series: Claudia Molon

In this interview, we spoke with Claudia Molon who is holding the position of Data Protection Officer, working in the apparel and fashion industry. Claudia shared with us what skills are valuable to look for in a DPO and what trends she expects to see in data protection in 2021. Read more about Claudia’s great insights below.

DPO interview 2021

1. When did you first think of “Data Protection” as a career?

It just happened. Many things in life happen without being planned.

I graduated in Management Engineering and I am passionate in processes optimization and mapping to understand how the activities are done, to find out some critical points and to suggest solutions for improvements.

Knowing business processes very well, I was asked if I wanted to take a course on data protection and I immediately accepted. I am grateful I did, because it is a topic that is becoming more and more relevant and interesting in all sectors.

After the course, I immediately put in practice what I was learning, creating and implementing a data protection strategy from scratch to manage all the privacy-compliance related activities and now I keep myself updated with all the news coming from different Countries.

2. What skills do you think are valuable to look for in a DPO?

I think a DPO should have a mix of competences to understand all the processes where personal data is involved. Not just law or technologies. These 2 competences can be integrated working closely with some specialists as a team (a Legal Cousel and a Chief Information Officer).

A DPO needs to speak to all departments and knows how the business works to understand how, when and why the data is involved to be sure that all aspects have been taken into account. Curiosity and open-mindedness are always necessary to understand the relationship between different parties involved in data processing to achieve business goals while respecting people’s rights.

3. You are working as a Data Protection Officer (DPO). In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge for a DPO?

In my opinion, the biggest challenge is to change the minds of people who have always worked in a certain way or who underestimate the importance of the data they have in their hands. Personal data are seen as something fully accessible and usable to increase business. A DPO has to raise awareness about data protection as a new corporate culture, but often these activities are seen only as a way to comply with the law and avoid the risk of fines.

interview with DPO

4. What are the more interesting things you have seen since GDPR became effective?

Personally, I believe that regulations as GDPR have the aim of restoring freedom to the data subject. It is interesting to me, that the focus is placed on the rights of individuals even though technological development has gained more and more importance over the years and technology has entered every aspect of human life.

5. What are the most dangerous threats to the security of personal data on the Internet today, and how can we protect ourselves from them?

People are getting used to providing their personal data for online purchases, it is now common to provide address, telephone number and email address to buy something or to get something for free. The problem is when users decrease their attention by entering personal data, accepting the declaration even without having read it or the privacy policy. I must also say that even though the GDPR went into effect more than 4 years ago and there are many other regulations scattered around the world, not all websites are compliant and transparent about how and why they collect that data.

6. What trends do you expect to see in data protection in 2021?

I think we will hear more and more about data protection, particularly with regard to data breaches and the disclosure of data without the consent of the data subjects.

Cyber-attacks are increasing and people are used to sharing their information excessively without paying proper attention but are unwilling to accept any data breaches suffered by companies.

Data protection will be a new competitive advantage among companies to improve brand reputation as has happened with sustainability.

7. Would you say that you have had any barriers during your career and success as a female leader?

I grew up in a purely male environment and I have always managed to assert my rights not only as a woman but also as a student and as a worker obtaining equal treatment.

I know excellent female engineers, as excellent female lawyers who are valued for their skills and not their gender.

As a woman it is important to show that we can have the same opportunity if we believe in ourselves. We do not have to step back, feel inadequate or alone, we have to speak and show our skills just like men do.

8. What do you think we should be doing more to encourage more women to consider a career in tech, data protection, and information security?

I think women should follow their desire without being swayed by stereotypes. We don’t need to be encouraged but we have to be free to make our own choices, without any fears because we are equally capable and equally intelligent.

9. Lastly, what personal development do you do on a regular basis to keep yourself sharp?

I try to never stop learning new things or improving what I already know: reading books, taking courses, studying a language, following webinars. I think the secret is never feeling like you’ve arrived but always wanting to start over with new experiences.

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