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What is a compliance platform?

A GDPR compliance platform is a software or technology solution designed to help companies or organizations ensure they are in compliance with the GDPR. Compliance is crucial for businesses and entities that process personal data of EU citizens. Failing to comply can result in significant fines and legal consequences.

Why do I need a compliance platform?

GDPR is a comprehensive European Union (EU) regulation that came into effect on May 25, 2018. It focuses on the protection of personal data and privacy rights of individuals within the EU and European Economic Area (EEA). GDPR compliance is mandatory for any organisation that processes personal data of EU/EEA residents, regardless of where the organisation is based. This puts great responsibility on your company. When it comes to GDPR, there are mainly 6 compliance areas you should be concerned about:

  1. You must ensure you have a legal basis to collect personal data
  2. You must keep track of all the personal data you collect
  3. You need to set strict policies for what you do with personal data, who can access it, as well as how long to keep it
  4. You must also put mechanisms in place to protect personal data at rest and in transit
  5. You should respond to a variety of requests people send you about their data
  6. You need to self-monitor your compliance and report any breaches

If all of this seems overwhelming, or if you struggle to get your GDPR compliance program off the ground, then getting a GDPR compliance platform can help.

Want to know more about a compliance platform?

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How a GDPR platform can help you

A compliance platform can automate one or more specific processes that are necessary to fulfill the GDPR task. E.g:

Data mapping/inventory
Under GDPR, your company must maintain an up-to-date comprehensive record of your data processing activities. Compliance platforms with data mapping features can identify and document all the personal data your company collects, stores, and processes. In addition, it may flag sensitive data. This includes things such as financial and health information that needs special protection.

Consent management
According to GDPR, one of the acceptable legal bases for collecting personal data is consent. To this end, many GDPR compliance platforms include consent mechanisms. They can help you draft proper consents and give you an easy way to get clear, informed, affirmative consent before letting people share their data with you.  

Data request management 
GDPR allows people to make a variety of specific requests about their data. For example, they can ask for access to it, or ask you to transfer it to another company. GDPR platforms that include data request management can help you receive and respond to such requests properly. Further, they can verify requesters’ identities, help you collect data to fulfill requests securely and remind you to respond on time. Meanwhile, they document how you handle each request to demonstrate compliance.

Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) 
Depending on the nature and scale of your data processing activities, from time to time, you may need to perform Data Protection Impact Assessments, or DPIAs. These assessments help you identify and mitigate risks to data subjects’ rights and freedoms. Compliance platforms can simplify or automate the task of reviewing and evaluating your risk data. They may also provide templates to create your DPIAs.

Privacy policy management
GDPR requires transparency. For this reason, you must make clear information available to people about what data you collect, how you use it, how long you keep it, and more. A GDPR compliance platform may provide tools to help you create privacy policies and notices and keep them up to date.

Data breach notification
In the event that you suffer a breach, GDPR requires you to report it without undue delay. Generally, within 72 hours. A compliance platform can help you detect, report, and document data breaches to relevant authorities and data subjects within the specified timeframes. 

Security and encryption
Another GDPR requirement is to take technical measures to protect data. A compliance platform may include features like encryption, two-factor authentication, strong passwords, and access controls to protect data. These can protect data at rest (when you store it). They can also protect it in transit (when you share or collect it).

Data retention and deletion
GDPR says you should only keep data as long as you need it. It also promotes the principles of data minimisation and storage limitation. In addition, a GDPR compliance platform may include features that let you set automatic data retention periods or remind you to delete old data before it becomes a liability.

Data transfer controls
Some GDPR platforms focus on cross-border transfers. Data you transfer to countries outside the EU/EEA gets special GDPR protection. If you perform this type of transfer regularly, you might consider looking for a compliance platform that helps you meet these requirements, such as using Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) or Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs). 

Auditing and reporting
A huge part of GDPR compliance is documentation. Despite your best efforts to handle data properly, regulators often rely on the principle, “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen”. Therefore, you may benefit from a GDPR platform that generates reports and maintains audit trails. This can demonstrate compliance to regulatory authorities.

Training and awareness
Many GDPR breaches are caused by employee mistakes.  In view of this, it’s a good idea to get a GDPR platform that supports training and awareness. This can help prevent common errors that cause breaches. Some platforms are dedicated to employee training, offering educational resources to improve GDPR compliance. 

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Take advantage of a compliance platform today

At Safe Online we have created PrivacyHub, an all-in-one privacy platform to ease the complicated and time-consuming process of handling sensitive data while complying with privacy management laws. PrivacyHub includes three tools to simplify key GDPR tasks:

DataMapper - find your sensitive data
ShareSimple - send and recieve data securely in Outlook
RequestManager - process data subject requests easily

Sebastian Allerelli

Founder & COO at Safe Online
Governance, Risk & Compliance Specialist
Follow me on LinkedIn to get tips on GDPR →