May 21, 2021 Last updated May 21st, 2021 1,474 Reads share

GDPR Data Mapping: How to Reduce Data Privacy Risks

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Organizational data map assessment can help to assess data privacy risks and avoid them. Though data mapping has many business benefits, it also helps in GDPR compliance. The quality of a data map depends on Data integration, migration, and other data management procedures in an organization. For an organization to map its data effectively and in compliance with the GDPR, it must consider the following aspects:


  • Thorough understanding of data flow

One should understand how data management and law work during data collection, migration, and integration. The focus should be on data entry and exit to and out of European Union countries, suppliers, customers, or other stakeholders in every organization.


  • Data flow description

Going through the information flow lifecycle can help identify unforeseen data breaches and minimize the likelihood of collecting data that may not be of use to the organization. A review of the potential use of available data for other purposes, its implications, and third-party involvement is crucial.


  • Data elements

In data map creation, there are 6 elements that one should consider to ensure compliance to GDPR;

  1. Data items

The category and the type of data you are handling are to be considered when reviewing data privacy rules.

  1. Lawful status

To ensure the data collection, processing, migration, and other data management tasks are within the law.

  1. Location

This relates to data storage, offices, countries, and third-party involvement. An organization is liable for a data breach due to poor storage locations or risky data handling processes.

  1. Access and accountability

Though data accountability changes such as data flow in an organization, it is good to ensure there are data safety assignments to the professional data safety team. Access to personal data should be under regulation and measures should be taken to ensure no unauthorized data access takes place.

  1. Data format

Organization data storage options range from hard disks, digital or removable devices, and so on. Data storage format impacts data privacy risk and therefore, organizations should review it and put the measures to secure personal data.

  1. Data transfer methods

Both internal and external data collection, sharing, and migration pose a threat to data security. An organization should be keen on this to ensure data transfer methods are safe.


Data Mapping Challenges

Data privacy risks are mainly due to the challenges in identifying personal data, technical and technological safeguards an organization should take, and understanding and interpreting GDPR and other compliance regulations such as PCI DSS.

Multiple personal data locations and various data formats pose a challenge in tracing the personal data held in an organization. Failure to understand the rules and regulations guarding data management also poses a threat to data privacy breaches.

Through advanced data mapping tools and software, data map creation and data management tasks become easy and enhance GDPR compliance.


Tips to Reduce Data Privacy Risks

  1. Embed data privacy in the organization

Data privacy should be the responsibility of the entire organization and stakeholders and should not be limited to the IT department only. Everyone should uphold data privacy in the way they collect, store, use or share organization data.

  1. Handle complexity of privacy regulations professionally

Automation, data modeling, and building effective organization processes that promote data privacy can help understand and conform to data privacy rules and regulations. The first step would be to improve data visibility in terms of location, nature, and sensitivity. There are advanced tools that can identify and classify data. That way, an organization treats sensitive data with care to avoid a data breach.

  1. Avoid common data storage culture

Retaining so much data in the organization’s systems enhances the amount of data in storage and increases the risk of a data privacy breach. The IT team in any organization should seek to balance the value of data collection, processing, and storage with the GDPR and other regulations on data security, privacy, and compliance. Opting for a solution that can handle the scale of data helps prevent unnecessary data storage.

  1. Review the balance between data breach costs and data security maintenance costs

Keeping the organization’s system and data safe increases maintenance costs. However, it better for an organization to consider increasing the maintenance costs to avoid the high cost of data breach penalties and fines. Automating the data management processes impacts data silos reduction, reduces human error, and eliminates manual processing. It also helps prevent data duplication and improves data governance and control.

  1. Management of proliferating devices

The Internet of things aspect makes data governance in an organization challenging. The IT team must manage data privacy and compliance from all sources such as organization apps, data access points, and smart devices within an organization. An effective data structure and governance process will enhance data privacy in any organization.

There is no simple fix for data privacy risk. But the above measures can help one to de-risk the data in the organization in compliance with the GDPR. Technology keeps evolving, and adopting new software and tools in data mapping and general data management enhances the organization’s data security.

Dmitry Kozlov

Dmitry Kozlov

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