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The challenge of meeting data compliance standards

Meeting data compliance standards has become more challenging than ever. In 2018 new legislation was implemented as part of the GDPR to protect personal information used and stored by organizations or government agencies; allowing it to be kept only with consent, and only for a limited amount of time.

Current legislation requires storage and usage practices for personal data to be more transparent, creating a need for organizations to be even more aware and in control of their data processes and data flows.

What is data compliance?

In short, meeting data compliance standards is about following legal requirements for data processing.

Every day, your organization receives and manages large amounts of personal data. That data makes its way into your storage systems, team emails and databases. To be data compliant, you need to keep track of how all of it is being processed, organized, stored and managed. To comply with the transparency element of regulations, you should also be able to communicate these processes to data subjects (customers, employees, and anyone else whose data you store) and be prepared to account for them in case of audit.

The GDPR gives individuals several new rights, including: the right of access, the right to rectification, the right to erasure, the right to restrict processing, the right to data portability, etc. Each of these rights gives more power to the individual and holds organizations more accountable for their handling of personal data, creating the need for you to reevaluate and improve your data processes.

Personal data must not be kept longer than the time necessary for the purpose for which the data is being processed. The time frame is not predefined; it may vary for employee data and customer data, different types of data, and how long the data is relevant for the purpose it was collected for.

To stay within the regulations, you need to make sure that individuals are informed about what their data is being used for and that they give specific, unambiguous consent for you to process it. The option to withdraw consent should also be given.

Once proper consent is given, your organization can only use the data for the purposes described in the agreement.

Why is data compliance so important?

Data compliance is an important focus for your company from both an ethical and an economic point of view.

Several high-profile cases have come up in recent years that put the spotlight on loss or abuse of personal data (whether intentional or unintentional) as a serious issue.

Today’s consumers pay attention to data-ethics. They care about the types of sensitive data you collect about them, how much you collect and how long you keep it. Your data policy can effectively be a dealmaker or a dealbreaker for your customers.

Another obvious reason to stay data compliant is to avoid fines. A data breach can cost your company hefty fines of up to 4% of its annual turnover.

Data breaches

One of the regulations you need to comply with requires implementing a strong data security system to protect individuals’ privacy.

Take security threats seriously, as they can affect both your customers and your revenue. The average cost of a data breach in 2020 is $3.86 million, according to a new report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute.

Avoid risk by staying up to date with the latest regulations.

Software can help

Software can help you stay compliant by helping you respond to data requests on time, keep track of the personal data you store, and keep data you share with others safe. Here are three types of software we recommend to help you comply with privacy regulations:

DSAR compliance management

Set up a structured, streamlined way to keep up with data privacy requests (DSARs).

Manual response to data requests is time-consuming and problematic, taking between 30-40 hours per request to find and prepare a person’s data. Request management software can automate the process, saving you valuable manpower and resources.

Data request management software can set you up to receive and respond quickly and efficiently to all types of data requests as required by GDPR and CCPA and other regulations.

Data inventory management

Let algorithms find and track the personal data your company stores, no matter where it is. This makes it easy for you to identify files that may present a risk of GDPR/data breach.

Get a system that recognizes high-risk keywords and ID numbers and organizes sensitive files by risk level and category. Then use it to regularly evaluate and improve your data processes.

A safe email portal

Email security software can help you share and request personal data safely, in compliance with regulations. A safe email portal is a good option for email security. It can work with the email you already use, sending and receiving data in an encrypted folder with auto-deletion after a time period you cutomize. It will keep the personal information you share and request safe, accounted for, and neatly out of your inboxes and folders.

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    A multi-pronged approach

    The three types of software we’ve mentioned above can minimize the tendency of personal files and information to linger in your systems, floating around aimlessly at risk of being leaked in a data breach.

    Meeting the standards of data compliance is easy when you keep track of high-risk files and their locations, always ready to account for their security and proper management.

    Would you like to learn more about how our fully automated, user-friendly and low-cost tools can help keep you compliant?

    Read about RequestManager →

    Read about DataMapper →

    Read about ShareSimple →

    More information

    What are the data processing regulations in the regions you do business?

    GDPR vs. PIPL →
    GDPR vs. CCPA →

    Sebastian Allerelli

    Governance, risk, and compliance specialist

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