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Data Protection Compliance

Ana Canteli

Written by Ana Canteli on 22 February 2021

The protection of personal data is one of the most critical tasks that any organization faces. Whether the entity in question is engaged in fruit and vegetable production, forestry, or offers medical services does not matter.

 If you create, receive, or manage personal data, you must comply with data protection regulations; from being up to date with current laws to develop a compliance strategy, which guarantees that the regulations are followed.

This is an issue that affects everyone, but not equally or in the same way, making it a complex issue that can become a real headache if privacy is not taken into account from the design, leading to potentially millions of $ in penalties for non-compliance.

What is data protection compliance?

Compliance with data protection regulations is a part of data security focused on proper data management, everything affecting the notification, consent, control, assignment, and treatment of your data and compliance with current regulations. Specifically, data protection compliance tries to define if and how third parties work with data processed, including how data is collected, stored, and managed per current regulations. And in that regard, it is essential to know what personal data protection regulations affect us. It is not the same to manage data subject from EU citizens (GDPR compliance) in the US (HIPAA, CCPA) or other countries.

Document management software is of the utmost importance when implementing a data protection compliance system that prevents the risks derived from non-compliance or data breaches while allowing efforts to be focused on the company's productive activities.

Principles of a data protection compliance system

Define what personal data is

This is more important the more national or supranational borders a business crosses, as organizations must monitor all privacy requirements. If we have a document management system that contributes to implementing a solid data management policy, it will be easier to meet additional national legislation requirements

Securing personal information throughout the organization

Analyzing information management architecture throughout the entity is necessary to ensure that personal information is secure. If the board of directors prioritizes this aspect, most of the battle of compliance with protecting personal data subjects is won. This may also mean establishing agreements with third parties regarding the processing of personal data. It is one thing to know where our databases with sensitive information are, but at the same time, you must realize that there can be personal data processed in backup copies, in the cloud, in e-mails, and many other locations. All this counts when it comes to protecting personal data against data breaches and even accidental distribution.

Establish protocols of action to respond to requests for the personal data subject

It must be easy for our users or clients to request and receive the information we have about them. Processes such as correcting or updating your data, eliminating it, and even suspending the collection of someone's data must be routine and easy to execute. Having a data processor can be very useful for properly managing access, rectification, or personal data cancellation. The data controller would also oversee the implementation of the technical measures. The existence of different special categories of data must always be kept in mind. In this sense, we must work with scalable document management systems that adapt to changing quantity and quality requirements.

Audit the activity related to the management of personal data

If you make decisions about personal data based on processes, these must be aligned with protecting rights. The information system must also include audit functionalities at different levels to guarantee the traceability of procedures and policies. In the event of deviation or non-compliance, you need to identify the incident and neutralize it or correct it in another convenient way. It will be ideal if this system includes a reporting functionality to obtain information about the aspects that may affect them.

Control the erasure and destruction of information

It is another fundamental principle of the management of personal data protection; In other words, people have the right to have their personal data erased, anonymized, or a pseudonym applied to them; but at the same time, organizations must be careful not to delete data that should be retained, for regulatory or legal reasons (principle of integrity). In this sense, document management systems should have a filing plan, which helps manage the retention schedule and the final disposal of personal data.

Keep only the information you need

Reducing the amount of information that we store is a straightforward measure and sufficient to protect ourselves from the impact of data protection. Another way to apply this measure is to know the period that we need to save said data.

The low cost of storage media can lead us to save information in greater quantity and more prolonged than necessary, thinking that we can amortize said information for new purposes. But thanks to the new legal framework that is more precise in all aspects of privacy, this is no longer only considered a source of opportunities but can also be a source of legal infractions.

Conclusion

Appointing a person responsible for information security or data privacy is recommended. Most likely, you already have people and departments that hold these responsibilities. Still, given that we have a legal framework that demands the appointment of data protection officers (GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA), it is worth recognizing the need and providing the means to address it, such as a document management system that protects privacy from the design of the own software.

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