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The real work to be GDPR compliant has only just begun

26 Mar 2018

by Magnus Valmot

With the deadline now gone, you can be forgiven for thinking that talk of GDPR is over. But, when it comes to GDPR compliance, we are only just starting.

GDPR has been top of most business agendas for many months now, but with the May 25 deadline now in the past, there’s a danger that it will slip down the priorities list. However, it’s absolutely essential to remember that GDPR compliance is a continuous process, not a periodic one.

Why should GDPR compliance be continuous?

Many businesses plan to have periodic compliance checks performed by internal or external teams. These can be valuable milestones to track progress towards compliance, but relying solely on periodic compliance checks—say, once per quarter—exposes you to risk in the interim.

A compliance check will likely uncover a lot of gaps that need to be resolved, especially early in the process. If those changes aren’t documented, three things will likely happen:

  1. Between audits, the documentation could become outdated, and the organization will be at risk of noncompliance
  2. There will be a gap in organizational knowledge that will force decisions based on incomplete information
  3. The work of documentation will get pushed to the next periodic compliance check, increasing the workload and complexity each time

If, however, you supplement the periodic compliance checks with consistent documentation generated internally, your risk in the case of an external audit is reduced significantly. GDPR is a marathon, not a sprint; compliance must be demonstrated continuously, or you risk falling foul of the law.

Design a culture of continuous compliance

Once you decide to maintain continuous compliance documentation, you can decide on processes that will be sustainable and useful for your business. By involving domain experts in the process and looking for automation opportunities, up-to-date documentation needn’t be a large time investment. Distribute the work and make iterative changes frequently, not large changes periodically.

Building this internal culture will help your business internalize a GDPR compliance mindset, and the data you create can be leveraged for secondary projects that will make GDPR a value-adding process.

Reuse your data for other initiatives

A byproduct of maintaining continuous compliance documentation is that you get big, up-to-date dataset that reflects the current reality of your organization. If you’re documenting it in a central, structured platform such as Ardoq, it’s an easy job to use this data for other applications, such as:

  • Identifying other risks in the organization
  • Performing impact analyses
  • Streamlining processes
  • Developing new services Streamlining your IT portfolio
  • Change management handling
  • Digitalization processes

GDPR compliance requires budget and time to get right, but with the proper project structure and internal culture, the output has applications outside of compliance. Compliance may seem like a sunk cost, but you can leverage the work you do for it to lay the foundation for projects that can net massive business gains.

Where Ardoq fits in

In order to realize the benefits of GDPR compliance, you first need to get a clear understanding of what personal data exists in your organization, where it’s used and stored, who has access, and the reason for having it. Ardoq allows you to create structured documentation of all of this data, then use that data to generate up-to-date visualizations and run automated gap analysis to spot potential issues early on.

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Magnus Valmot

As CEO of Ardoq, Magnus is dedicated to building great teams of people in a shared mission to disrupt the EA industry and bring trusted, tangible value to Ardoq's customers and everyone we work with. Magnus has an MSc in Engineering and leadership background spanning from the Norwegian Armed Forces and critical management roles in global companies.

  

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