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What is a privacy risk assessment? 

A privacy risk assessment is typically designed with three main goals:

  • Ensure conformance with applicable legal, regulatory and policy requirements for privacy

  • Identify and evaluate the risks of privacy breaches or other incidents and effects

  • Identify appropriate privacy controls to mitigate unacceptable risks

  • Include a website vulnerabilities audit

How do you conduct a privacy risk assessment or PIA?

Data protection regulations like the CCPA or GDPR do not prescribe specific data protection technologies. There is no “official risk assessment template.”

“Risk identification needs to be part of the process, as well as a systems design. Privacy by design and by default is all about identifying privacy risk and making sure a risk-based approach guides you through the entire lifecycle of data,” notes the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Benefits of privacy risk assessments

According to the IAPP, undertaking privacy risk assessments have multiple benefits for your organization:

  • Provides an early warning system – a way to detect privacy problems, build safeguards before, not after, heavy investment and fix privacy problems sooner rather than later

  • Provides evidence that an organization attempted to prevent privacy risks (reduce liability, negative publicity, damage to reputation)

  • Enhances informed decision-making

  • Helps your organization gain the public’s trust and confidence

  • Demonstrates to employees, contractors, customers and citizens that your organization takes privacy seriously

Many of these benefits focus on how undertaking privacy risk assessments can help circumvent the costly and embarrassing effects of a data breach.

For example, the average cost of a data breach is now $3.92 million, with the biggest contributor to costs being lost business.

There is also the reputational damage and diminished goodwill that organizations will suffer – once an organization has lost the trust of its customers, it is difficult to win it back. Data breaches caused 64% of consumers to say they are unlikely to do business with a company where their financial or sensitive data was stolen.

Why a Privacy Risk assessment must include your website

As we mentioned earlier, it is critical to conduct privacy risk assessments wherever data flows throughout your organization – and this includes your website, an area often overlooked, despite being a goldmine for customer PII (and subsequently a prime target for hackers).

The fact is your website is an entry point for customer data, and it is exposed to hundreds of threats in the form of malicious JavaScript code injections, unsolicited advertising, digital skimming and third-party vulnerabilities, as well as accidental data leakage or non-compliance to strict data protection regulations.

Data leakage can often occur at the client side of the website, so it is more difficult to see what is going on until it is too late.

To combat this, you need a real-time view of your digital data supply chain: all the technologies running on your digital properties. Essentially, you are performing a full privacy risk assessment as web pages are loaded.

Get your privacy risk assessment today and check your customer data exposure to help ensure your compliance with global data privacy legislation.

Get in touch with Ascentrix Consulting to find out more about how to protect your website from data leakage or theft while complying with global data privacy legislation.


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