What is a GDPR tool?
The purpose of a GDPR tool is to help you reach compliance and maintain it. Since the GDPR is a complex regulation with a variety of principles and requirements, it may take a variety of tools with different functions to achieve the level of data privacy and protection you need.
Presently, there is no tool or service that can completely outsource your GDPR responsibility or guarantee compliance. At the end of the day, your company is still personally responsible for personal data protection. That being said, GDPR tools do make a world of difference by taking much of the time and guesswork out of compliance.
First, let’s briefly review some of GDPR’s key requirements. Then, I’ll list some examples of GDPR tools. Finally, I’ll share what I feel is the most important type of GDPR tool for small and medium businesses.
Key requirements GDPR tools can address
Here are 7 key principles of GDPR, along with a brief description of what you can do to comply with them. GDPR tools can help you with each principle:
Be honest and open about how you collect, use, store, and protect personal data. You can do this by posting up-to-date and accurate privacy notices. Another example of transparency is to put clear info about data processing in your consent forms. You must also be ready to answer people promptly when they ask you about their data. To do all this, you need to have a good understanding of your own data processing. Hereafter, you need to know how to describe it in clear, simple language.
2. Purpose limitation
3. Data minimisation
Don’t collect data you don’t need. Inventory your data regularly, and delete data that you no longer need for the purpose for which you collected it. You should also try to spot redundant copies of files that can needlessly expose you to risk and liability.
Accuracy is about preventing or identifying and correcting mistakes in people’s data. When you collect data, make sure it is accurate. Conduct data quality checks to identify and rectify inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the personal data you hold.
5. Storage limitation
Don’t keep data longer than you need to. Set a limit to how long you keep people’s personal information. Then, include that data retention period in your policies. Finally, make sure you stick to it. This means data inventory again. Pay special attention to data that is over 5 years old, and check if you really still need it.
6. Integrity and confidentiality
In practice, this principle means security. This includes all the systems and policies you put in place to protect people’s data privacy. Access controls, encryption, and strong policies to keep personal data safe. Make sure your default settings prioritize privacy and data integrity.
GDPR accountability means taking responsibility for your organization’s data protection practices and demonstrating compliance. Documentation is a big part of this. Keep a record of the categories of personal data you collect and who you collect it from (customers/employees/partners, etc.). Further, include your purposes for processing personal data, and whether you share it with anyone, especially outside the EU/ EEA.
Complying with these 7 principles of GDPR is each a task in itself. With the help of GDPR tools, you will be able to either remedy or completely eliminate the risk of processing data with sensitive personal data in an orderly manner.
Examples of GDPR tools
There are tons of software and other tools related to GDPR compliance on the market. Depending on your company and the types and amounts of data you collect, you may choose to combine several of them to help you cover your compliance needs. Here are a few examples of GDPR compliance tools to consider:
Data Discovery tools
A Data Discovery tool can help you understand how much data you have, how old it is, who has access to it, and more. This saves you time and confusion when drafting policies and consents, responding to data access requests, and more. It also lets you quickly identify and delete old data and files you don’t need anymore.
GDPR audit tools
Use GDPR audit tools to check whether your organization processes personal data properly. These tools can range from simple checklists to advanced software. They usually contain a list of areas to check on when auditing your compliance.
Consent management tools
Getting proper consent is a great way to ensure you have legal basis for collecting data. Tools that include consent management can obtain and manage consent, customize your consent message to make sure it is clear and complete, keep records of all consents obtained, and more.
DSR portals/data request managers
GDPR gives people the right to make requests about their data, and you have to respond to all of them promptly or face fines. A DSR portal/request manager can streamline and automate or semi-automate the whole process from receiving the request to, collecting data for your response and sending it back securely.
If you find you store lots of sensitive data, one very effective way to protect it is to use anonymization. Anonymization removes personally identifiable information like names and ID numbers and replaces it with random strings or other unique identifiers. Note that you may need some technical knowledge to integrate anonymization tools with your systems.
Data sharing tools
You’ll need an easy way to share data that keeps it safe. Look for data-sharing solutions that already include encryption for data at rest and in transit. Other security features you need for safe data sharing include password managers and two-factor authentication.
Firewalls, anti-malware, etc.
Include things like firewalls, breach detection systems, and anti-malware in your GDPR toolkit. Firewalls monitor and control network traffic based on predefined rules. Anti-malware protects against viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs. Other technical security tools include VPNs, patches, anti-virus and anti-spyware, and more.
The most important GDPR tool
All of the tools I’ve mentioned above can contribute to GDPR compliance. However, if I have to pick the first, most important, and most valuable GDPR tool small and medium businesses should get based on its impact on your compliance overall, it has to be a Data Discovery tool.
Compliance starts with knowing where your data is at all times and goes full circle to being able to demonstrate that you process it properly in case of an audit. Mapping and discovering your data helps you understand it, so you can create accurate and up-to-date policies, risk assessments, and consent forms. Then, it makes it easy to monitor and control access to the data in real-time. Finally, when called upon to do so, having a record of your processing activities lets you show data authorities and customers that you handle data properly.
A GDPR platform for your company
PrivacyHub is a GDPR toolkit for SMBs, with three user-friendly GDPR compliance tools you can get together or separately: