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Why Your Company Needs A Data Privacy Risk Assessment

Data privacy is one of the most fiercely debated topics today among business leaders, technology companies, governments and individuals. Fueled by the introduction of strict data protection regulations across the world, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), it is incumbent on organizations to ensure the privacy of the data they process – or face costly consequences.

“By 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have its personal information covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10% today.”

Accelerating privacy regulation is one of the top emerging risk organizations face, with privacy regulation concerns most prevalent among professionals in banking, financial services, and technology and telecommunications industries.

Despite this, there are daily reports of data leaks or exposure from within organizations that thought they had the proper data protection measures in place.

Privacy risk assessments — also known as data protection impact assessments (DPIA) or privacy impact assessments (PIA), exist to ensure you accurately measure and manage the risk to your customers and keep your organization compliant with global data protection regulations.

Why do you need to conduct a privacy risk assessment?

Data is the lifeblood for every organization. But if your business collects sensitive and personal customer data – to build marketing campaigns, improve the customer experience or for payment purposes, for example – how you manage, store and secure that data will be essential to maintaining your regulatory compliance. But that does not just mean protecting your organization from data breaches and cyberattacks; it also requires respecting data subjects’ privacy.

Personal data always needs to be kept secure as vulnerabilities in the flow of data lead to the risk of breaching customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). The data in question could be usernames, location data, online identifiers like IP address or cookies, or passwords.

Despite the headlines, you do not even have to be subject to a cyberattack: under the regulations, a breach can include the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss or disclosure of personal data.

This applies to data whether it is saved on a database, as a hard copy or being transferred to or from third parties. Each area has its own risks, but injection flaws (which allow attackers to copy or manipulate data) and sensitive data exposure (which allows attackers to gather sensitive information) as the biggest risk to data privacy.

Any organization required to comply with the CCPA or GDPR (and other coming country and US state privacy laws) must conduct regular privacy risk assessments. The ability to ensure confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience will be crucial – as will be restoring data promptly in the event of an incident. You will also need to demonstrate you have taken adequate steps to protect the data in your care in the event of a breach or leakage.

What does a privacy risk assessment involve?

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

Contact Ascentrix Consulting today for a free consultation. Together we can discuss the privacy risk assessment your company needs and how we can help you achieve those goals.


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