Organizations will have to be as prepared as Boy Scouts in order to demonstrate they are reviewing all of their business processes that involve personal data.
In a white paper, Gartner identified accountability as the third most important step to meeting the deadline for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018. And there is a lot to do.
“Only a few organizations have actually identified every single process where personal data is involved,” Gartner said in the white paper, Focus on Five High-Priority Changes to Tackle EU GDPR.
Accountability is a process in itself; because transparency requirements lead to extended documentation and (internal) registration, business process owners must be formally appointed. Then, in order to be allowed to make decisions alone, subsidiaries in holding companies need to be mandated to act on behalf of the controller.
It is also time-consuming; if you are reviewing existing business processes where personal data is involved is undertaken for the first time, it can take from one week up to three months.
Outside parties in the processing operation have to comply with relevant requirements as well. Make sure their level of security matches your own, and ensure any data beyond the assigned retention periods is removed. Also, each outside party should have its own data protection officer. Many organizations could see this impacting their supply, change management and procurement processes.
Finally, accountability under the GDPR requires proper data subject consent acquisition and registration. Pre-checked boxes and implied consent are for the most part in the past. A clear and express action is needed. Subjects must know exactly what they agree to, so you should be clear on the data processed.
Here are some recommendations from Gartner:
- Identify and appoint process owners for personal data processing activities. Obtain legal advice with regard to the grounds (legal basis) on which personal data is processed.
- Establish and maintain an internal framework for accountability from start of processing to deletion of data. Ensure a thorough registration and up-to-date documentation of all personal data processing activities, including what data is used for what purpose.
- Identify selection criteria for data processors and, in procurement and operations, ensure GDPR/contract compliance is audited regularly.
- Perform a privacy impact assessment for every new (or material change in) form of processing, showing and subsequently mitigating new/changed risk to the data management practices.
- Implement streamlined techniques to obtain and document consent and consent withdrawal. This includes the review of policies and procedures addressing personal data processing (for example, HR, IT, customers).
Once you are as responsible as a Boy Scout, you can move on to the next step: checking your cross-border data flows.