How to comply with GDPR

Like it or not, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is here to stay. Many companies have hired in-house teams to take on the task of how to comply with the GDPR. In most cases, the in-house GDPR compliance teams deliver spreadsheet files to meet the regulation standards. Even though some data protection authorities consider this method sufficient for compliance, it opens the door to a whole new set of challenges.

Before you dive into the world of GDPR compliance with a heap of Excel files, consider the potential business challenges and what steps you can take to avoid them altogether.

What is GDPR in a nutshell?

GDPR compliance focuses on how personal data is collected and processed, giving the European Union (EU) citizens the right to access and control their personal data.   

Key points of compliance with GDPR include:

  • Information audit to gain visibility of personal data that you collect, store and process
  • Assessment to understand the risk involved with data processing activities
  • Right to access, update, and erase in some cases, the personal data you have collected
  • Cross-border data transfer requirements

The fundamental takeaway is that GDPR compliance is a continuous process, and enterprises need to stay on top of the requirements.

Who must comply with GDPR?

GDPR applies to all businesses selling goods or services to EU residents. Your organization may be registered or located outside the EU, but as long as you collect and use personal data of EU citizens, GDPR compliance is mandatory for you.

As the focus is on EU citizens as customers for goods or services, the size of your organization or the nature of your business does not matter. Looking at the way businesses operate today across the world; most of the global organizations need to comply with the GDPR.

What to do for GDPR compliance right now?

Some in-house GDPR compliance teams may still be relying on spreadsheets to manage privacy compliance. Using disconnected static spreadsheets makes updating and sharing information challenging, and leaves a lot of room for human error.

Sharing data via spreadsheets has its own problems of multiple versions on several distributed machines. For compliance, you must update all the spreadsheets for every instance of the same element. Updating these multiple versions one by one can never ensure that they are in sync in real time. This process degrades the quality of the data, resulting in the loss of confidence and trust in the data.

GDPR compliance is demanding, but you can approach it intelligently with a combination of strategic planning, enterprise-wide application of policies, and the right data governance solution.

  • Implementing a data governance solution enables you to build relationships between all the collected information from different points of view.
  • You no longer have your teams working in silos without any visibility into what the others are working on.
  • You can make connections between all of your collected data and allow everyone in your organization access to it. This approach promotes an agile working environment and reduces the time spent resolving issues due to confusion or accountability.
  • When you make updates on one platform, they are automatically applied to all the other locations where that data is referenced.
  • All data updates are logged, so that all of your users are aware of what has been changed, who made the changes, and when. Traceability eliminates the need for multiple versions of the same files and increases the trust in your data.

Data governance provides a framework for managing and defining enterprise-wide policies, business rules, and data assets to work towards GDPR compliance. It gives context to your data, addressing complex issues like cross-border data transfers regarding GDPR compliance, and more.

Future steps towards compliance?

Data governance provides a foundation for your GDPR compliance efforts and continues to support your business much beyond that. We at Collibra have developed our data governance solution by working with individuals with a deep understanding of privacy regulations. They partner with data teams, privacy professionals, and legal experts to offer the capabilities for making your compliance efforts more efficient and sustainable.

  • Our out-of-the-box solution provides a centralized inventory of personal data across the business and technical landscapes. This approach enables you to find your personal data assets using full text or regular expression search.
  • The Collibra Data Platform makes discovering, classifying and documenting your personal data easier and more effective.
  • You can create and manage data policies easily with our solution and apply them uniformly across your organization.
  • Our solution provides templates so that you can quickly conduct impact and risk assessments. Intuitive dashboards help you to regularly capture and report the progress of the GDPR compliance project. 

There are many moving parts to GDPR compliance, so it can be a difficult task to manage. A proactive, organized strategy is the key to successfully completing and maintaining compliance. As data privacy regulations evolve to be more comprehensive and more complex, investing every bit of time and effort is worth improving your approach.

You may have already started rigorously working on a GDPR compliance project. Just remember to make sure you have the right solution and framework in place to produce effective, sustainable results.

Related resources


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