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A Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) is the means by which individuals request that your enterprise discloses what personal data it holds on them and how you use or intend to use it. Submitting DSARs is one of the Data Subject Rights granted to consumers under data privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These laws not only give consumers awareness about their rights over their personal data but also provide the tools necessary to exercise them.

An enterprise served with a DSAR is legally obligated to fulfill these requests within a limited timeframe to avoid non-compliance. This is why automating the processing of DSARs is necessary to respond within the aforementioned timeframe. So, let’s discuss the importance of DSARs, how they differ under CCPA and GDPR, and how your business can cost-effectively prepare for and automatically respond to DSARs, which are likely to increase substantially in a post-CCPA world.

Who Are the Beneficiaries of DSARs?

DSARs give consumers unprecedented control over their personal information stored by organizations, from access to data and requesting information on stored data to requesting information on the data safeguards the organization provides. With CCPA, consumers can request DSARs twice a year at no cost whatsoever.

For businesses, speedy and accurate fulfillment of DSARs substantially boosts their brand image while also ensuring compliance with CCPA regulations. However, some estimates put the cost of the fulfillment of each DSAR could be in the thousands, since it requires data gathering across a multitude of systems, putting them in one place, going through data records and compiling it all in a comprehensive report. Moreover, fulfilling each DSAR can take weeks. This is where a solution based on automation can be a potent weapon.

 

Example of a Data Subject Access Request

DSARs under CCPA vs. GDPR

While both CCPA and GDPR provide consumers with mechanisms to exercise greater control over their data, there are some fundamental differences between how much power a consumer has under each law. Let’s have a look:

 

How to Prepare for DSARs

Many expect that the number of receiving DSARs have increased significantly after CCPA. So let’s explore what is required and how to prepare:

  • Responding to a Data Subject Request

Organizations have 45 days to respond and fulfill a customer’s data subject request, in a transferable electronic format. These obligations may vary depending on the customer’s request and how their information is handled.

  • Manage Deletion Requests

Deletion requests involve not only team members from within the organization, but also all third-party vendors and partners with whom the personal information has been shared.

  • Communicating with the Consumer

CCPA requires the disclosure of rights and communication about DSARs, as does the GDPR. The rights given to consumers under CCPA and GDPR are similar but not identical. This means that organizations will need to change their communication accordingly.

 

Responding to Data Subject Access Requests

The following are the steps required to process and fulfill a DSAR:

  1. Register, log and authenticate DSAR
    Organizations must register data requests, log them in a system of record, and authenticate the user before starting work on their fulfillment, either manually or automatically.
  2. Collect personal information
    For organizations to prepare for DSARs, they will need to discover and categorize the personal data they process and store. This data is often stored on an array of systems within an organization and externally as well. The personal data must also be mapped to the individual owner of that data to facilitate the processing of DSARs. Leveraging a People Data Graph can help streamline this process. The collection of this data must also be done in a safe manner to avoid additional data sprawl which could translate to greater liability.
  3. Review and approve the information
    After gathering the necessary information, organizations need to review the data and make sure it meets the DSAR requirements without disclosing proprietary information or the personal data of any other data subject.
  4. Safely deliver customer information
    The final response must then be delivered to the consumer securely. If a data breach or leakage occurs, it can cost as much as $750 per leaked record.

Here are several risks associated with fulfilling a data subject request you must watch out for:

  • Requesters cannot be trusted without authentication.
  • Managing deadlines is crucial to fulfilling DSARs.
  • Data scanning should be automated, and done in a way that does not replicate copies of the data
  • Data processing should be centralized in a safe workplace to avoid personal data sprawl
  • Consumer responses should be encrypted to avoid data breaches.
  • The activity must be tracked to keep a record for validating compliance
  • Data delivered to the wrong person can be catastrophic.

One important factor to consider is that using traditional means will do more harm than good. For example, using emails to deal with DSARs can be dangerous as the risk of data sprawl increases when sending and receiving data over a system that is not secure. Moving personal information in an unencrypted system increases the risk of data breaches. It takes an average of 196 days for an organization to pick up on a data breach, making it essential for enterprises to fortify and automate their systems to protect themselves from any data breach.

What needs to be included in a DSAR?

When responding to a DSAR, organizations are required to have the following heading in their response:

  • A confirmation that the data subject’s personal data is processed.
  • Access to the data subject’s personal information.
  • State all the lawful basis for processing data.
  • Mention the period, or criteria for which data will be stored.
  • Any relevant information  about how this data has been obtained.
  • Any relevant information about automated decision-making and profiling.
  • The names of any third parties information is shared with.

Key Takeaways

Here are some highlights:

  • DSARs are a mechanism by which consumers request access to their personal information held by organizations such as yours.
  • Responding to these requests presents several operational challenges.
  • Fulfilling DSARs will prove to be especially costly (average cost of $1,400 per each request when fulfilled manually)
  • A comprehensive DSR robotic automation solution can reduce cost and complexity and limit legal liability

Large organizations may have hundreds of millions of records about their consumers, often spread across an array of systems. Sorting this data and creating a data inventory to cope with DSARs is a challenging task that requires organizations to automate their current practices.

At SECURITI.ai, we have solutions that offer robotic automation, machine learning and secure cross-channel collaboration to help your business stay prepared for CCPA.

Next Steps

To learn more about automation and orchestration of data subject requests and how much time you can save, check out the video below or schedule a demo to see it live, in action!

 
Response strategy graphics

In our previous blog post “How to Manage DSARs Under CCPA Efficiently and Effectively” we defined and discussed Data Subject Access Rights or DSARs under the CCPA legislation. We provided information and guidelines that should provide a good foundation for a DSAR response policy. In this blog post, we’ll take it a step further and provide 6 keys steps to automating the DSAR process which will provide accuracy to the consumer. All enterprises need to focus on their process for managing a consumer's access to their personal information held by the company. As we said in our last blog post, this request to access personal information is commonly known as a ‘Data Subject Access Request’ or ‘DSAR’.

Different laws specify how these requests should be managed in different jurisdictions. Breaching DSAR rules has led to more than a dozen fines so far under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including a recent fine of €200,000 sanctioned against a German company for refusing to provide the requested information. Other common reasons for DSAR fines have included failure to respond to requests in time and failure to provide complete personal information to DSARs excluding video, audio, and phone recordings.

The new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which came into force on January 1st, 2020, is set to be at least as tough on penalties as the GDPR. The CCPA provides that companies will be subject to a civil penalty of between $2,500 and $7,500 per violation of the CCPA, which includes the DSAR mandate. While we can't say at this stage how the courts will interpret 'per violation', for large businesses, it is clear that fines could reach into the hundreds of millions in some cases.

Compliance with the CCPA has a massive reach as there are over 40 million Californian’s which means most organization’s databases will have at least a few in their systems. Furthermore, it is expected that other states, such as New York, Washington, and Illinois will use the CCPA as a blueprint and follow up with the legislation of their own.

You can read more about some of the differences between the GDPR and the CCPA here.

Now that we have laid the groundwork, let’s walk through the steps to implementing an efficient and cost-effective DSAR procedure.

 

Automation is Essential

Personal information is an extremely broad category of information. The CCPA defines personal information as information that: “identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household such as a real name, alias, postal address, unique personal identifier perhaps a login name, online identifiers such as an IP address, email address, account name, social security number, driver's license number, passport number, or other similar identifiers.”

While the request to access this information is commonly called a DSR, other common names include:

  • DSAR - Data Subject Access Request
  • VCR - Verifiable Consumer Request
  • IRR - Individual Rights Request
  • SRR – Subject Rights Request
  • SAR – Subject Action Request

Complying with these requirements in the CCPA has the potential to be time-consuming and expensive: PwC estimates that businesses have already spent more than $5 million on average preparing for the CCPA.

The motto for CCPA compliance needs to be ‘automate where you can’. Planned automation will result in:

  • Financial cost savings in the DSAR Process
  • Reduced risk of financial compliance penalties due to more robust compliance processes
  • Reduced risk of brand loss

Companies need to consider the consumer’s right to make a DSAR –the right to request access to personal information alongside related rights under the CCPA. That is, the right to request the deletion of information and the right to opt-out of the on-sale of their personal information to a third party.

Beyond the compliance imperative, consumers are increasingly demanding data transparency, which consequently drives DSAR growth. Just as with other consumer preferences related to their moral or personal convictions, consumers will increasingly pay a premium for a company that takes care of their personal information. Automation is crucial to bring those consumers the data they request, quickly, and in the format they desire.

In order to respond to DSARs, companies need to have a robust process in place. Let’s go through 6 steps that we believe will fulfill the requirements of CCPA, the expectations of your customers while providing accuracy and ultimately saving your organization time and money.

 

Step One: Collect & Process DSARs

The first step for dealing with DSARs is the efficient collection of verified consumer requests. It is recommended that companies have a data request form on their website to enable the ready acceptance of DSARs. Ideally, this form should:

  • be embedded into the company website, so it’s easily accessible to the consumer;
  • be customized, depending on regional requirements and the additional needs of the company. This may mean multiple forms for consumers from different regions;
  • allow consumers to select from a series of predefined choices (e.g., a drop-down box) to avoid overly general or vague requests. This is also useful for establishing if the consumer has a different, related, request such as a request to delete their personal information;
  • include strong identity verification measures. These measures protect incoming requests, prevent fraud and eliminate incoming bots.

 

Step Two: Collect Personal Information and identify the owner

Once the request has been submitted, the company systems need to locate the consumer’s information. Elements of personal information collation include:

  • locating information from disparate systems. Personal information is often in different places and in various forms: Some of it may be contained on-premises, some may be stored on cloud services, some information may be contained in emails. Often the data is both structured (such as data found in databases) and unstructured (such as data sitting in emails);
  • coordinating with third-party vendors to accumulate all the relevant information;
  • ensuring each required aspect of the personal information is collated. Under the CCPA, collated information must include the categories of personal information collected, the categories of information sources, the commercial purposes for the information, the categories of third parties with whom information has been shared and the categories of that personal information.

 

Step Three: Orchestrate Tasks for Review & Approval

While it is recommended that the collection of personal information in step two use an automated process, there is still an essential human element. Privacy team members within the business or other employees will generally need to follow up on unresolved issues from the automated collection. For example, if the system flags potentially duplicate information, this may need to be manually checked.

An automated system can ensure delivering notifications and that tasks are assigned to team members within and outside the business.

 

Step Four: Collaboration

Once personal information has been identified, it will often be essential to collaborate across business units and with third parties to organize the information, verify it, and complete the request.

Personal information should not be sent over insecure systems for review and approval. An automated process here can allow for a ‘virtual Ops-Center’ - A secure space for team members to securely work together to discuss, coordinate and resolve issues as consumer responses are compiled.

 

Step Five: Deliver Responses Securely

Once the DSAR response content has been prepared and a compliance report created, it needs to be securely released to the consumer. These reports should be provided to consumers:

  • in an easy to transfer format, and
  • in a secure format that is not vulnerable to alteration or tampering during transport (e.g., encrypted with a key unique for that consumer).

Due to the possibility of an audit or legal action, a company must also keep excellent records of DSAR fulfillment in order to demonstrate compliance with the CCPA.

 

Step 6: Consider DSAR Exemptions and Refusals

In addition to requesting access to the information itself, a DSAR can also be accompanied by a request to delete that information. There is a range of exceptions and exemptions built into the DSAR rules which businesses need to be aware of. This helps balance the individual’s desire for privacy and a business’s requirement to retain that data.

The exceptions to erasure in the CCPA include:

  • Information required to complete a transaction;
  • Security. Sometimes information must be retained in order to detect fraud, prosecute those responsible and debug errors;
  • Errors. Some personal information may need to be retained to identify and fix program errors;
  • Exercise Free Speech;
  • CalECPA (California Electronic Communications Privacy Act) compliance. This means that businesses don’t need to delete certain information when state law enforcement have requested personal information;
  • Personal Information collated for the purposes of research in the public interest;
  • Expected internal uses;
  • Legal Compliance. Any personal information a business has to keep to satisfy a legal obligation is not subject to consumer deletion requests.

An automated system can flag any personal information that should not be deleted for these specified reasons.

 

How DSAR Automation Reduces the Financial Cost of the DSAR Process

The financial costs of manually carrying out the steps 1-6 are significant. Manual processing of DSARs can cost a company between $1,400 to $10,000 per DSR request, depending on the complexity of its organization. With automation, we estimate the following savings in the DSAR process:

  • A 90 percent saving on work hours for identifying personal information and 60 percent reduction in work hours for assessing that information
  • A substantial reduction in the financial costs of other CCPA compliance tasks. For example, automated processes for identifying personal information are extremely useful when working out which consumers need to be notified in the case of a data breach
  • Dealing with request ‘spikes’. The speed at which automation allows a company to deal with a DSAR also permits the company to more efficiently manage ‘spikes’ in requests where many consumers make a request at the same time.

 

How DSAR Automation Reduces the Potential Financial Costs of Non-Compliance

In addition to the reduced financial costs in process DSAR requests, there are potential savings from a reduced risk of non-compliance as well. These savings result from:

  • Reducing the compliance risk caused by human error. Collating data manually is subject to human error in a way that automated machine learning solutions are not. In addition, the steps for processing and responding to a DSAR manually, add to ‘data sprawl’, and a risk that information shared through insecure channels could itself be breached
  • The time and energy spent in dealing manually with DSAR could be better devoted to other compliance tasks
  • Demonstrating Compliance. It is essential under the CCPA that a business be able to demonstrate its compliance if it were to face legal actions from consumers or the California Attorney-General. An automated procedure is much better at automatically recording compliance steps taken.

 

How DSAR Automation Reduces the Risk of Brand Loss

Faster response times, the ability to deal with request ‘spikes’, and responses to consumers that make it clear to them that their information is secure, all add to the consumer’s positive experience with that brand. Businesses that manage DSAR manually run the risk of losing out to the competition that can demonstrate greater respect for data privacy and protection.

In addition, a satisfied consumer whose response to a DSAR is received in a timely manner is less likely to pursue legal action against the company and substantially hurt its brand by not purchasing its products or by providing poor reviews.

 

DSAR Automation Key Takeaways

  • Complying with the CCPA and other data protection laws and regulations requires that companies have a robust DSAR procedure in place. The majority of companies need to take this into account – not just those located in California.
  • We recommend six broad steps to a robust DSAR Procedure. Collecting requests, collecting information, processing, collaboration, secure DSAR delivery, and exception processing.
  • We strongly recommend an automated solution for implementing these six steps. This reduces the costs of the process, reduces the risk of compliance penalties and will protect you from brand loss.
  • PRIVACI has automated solutions for processing DSARs under the CCPA as well as other regulatory regimes.
 

Many business owners, compliance professionals, and IT security staff have been scrambling to deal with the impact that GDPR had when it took effect on May 25th, 2018. Over 12 significant fines have been levied against organizations worth €359M in the first year. Marriot, British Airways, Lithuania, and of course, Google in France are just several well-known brands that have suffered significant fines for breaches or improperly handling sensitive consumer data.

The CCPA is following in GDPR’s footsteps when it comes to levying fines for not following the stringent guidelines of the law. For example, the California Civil Code that defines one major sanction reads “civil class action lawsuits to pay statutory damages between $100 to $750 per California resident and incident, or actual damages, whichever is greater.”

This presents a much bigger issue for most organizations, as there is no limit on the number of private civil actions that might be launched, and the costs will be high. The Equifax breach affected roughly 15 million Californians, meaning that if there were a similar breach to happen under the CCPA, in a worst-case scenario, they could have been liable for over $11 billion in claims, simply on the grounds of the consumer distress caused.

If the Equifax Breach Occurred Under CCPA Regulations the Company May Have Been Liable for Over $11 Billion in Claims

The CCPA isn’t just a state law. It will become the de-facto national standard for the foreseeable future, because of the sheer numbers of Californians most businesses in the United States will have to comply. Meaning, with nearly 40 million Californians, the majority of businesses will have at least some Californians and their PII in their databases, CRM’s, or other systems.

Companies will have to disclose to California customers what data of theirs has been collected, delete it, and stop selling it if the customer makes that request. According to PwC, enterprises have already spent more than $5 million on average preparing for the CCPA, with spending expected to rise dramatically throughout 2020.

What Exactly is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a bill intended to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California. The CCPA intends to provide California residents with the right to:

  1. Know what personal data is being collected about them.
  2. Know whether their personal data is sold or disclosed and to whom.
  3. Say no to the sale of personal data.
  4. Access their personal data.
  5. Request a business to delete any personal information about a business collected from them.
  6. Not be discriminated against for exercising their privacy rights.

Privacy and security professionals have had numerous questions about how the law will change the way they handle sensitive data and the various requests they may receive from their customers who request data collection information or want to know other information about their PII called DSAR’s.

In the case of the CCPA what exactly is personal information or PII? CCPA defines personal information as information that: “identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household such as a real name, alias, postal address, unique personal identifier perhaps a log in name, online identifier such as an IP address, email address, account name, social security number, driver's license number, passport number, or other similar identifiers.”

What Is a DSAR or Data Subject Access Rights? - Also Known as DSR, SRR, and SAR’s

The term Data Subject Access Rights first gained popularity with the advent of GDPR. The acronym DSAR stands for Data Subject Access Rights, however you may see it used as an acronym for Data Subject Access Requests. To be clear, Data Subject Access Rights are the rights provided to the consumer by the legislation while a DSAR is the actual consumer request for information or deletion. In addition, you will see DSR, SRR, VCR, IRR, and SAR’s used interchangeably within organizations and even legal entities.

Data Subject Access Rights are the rights provided to the consumer by the legislation, while a SAR is the actual consumer request for information or deletion. In addition, you will see DSR, SAR, SRR, IRR, and VCR’s used interchangeably within organizations and even legal entities.

  • DSR – Data Subject Request – identical to a DSAR
  • SAR – Subject Action Request – identical to a DSAR
  • SRR – Subject Rights Request – identical to a DSAR
  • IRR – Individual Rights Request – identical to a DSAR
  • VCR – Verifiable Consumer Request – while this is like a DSAR, SRR, SAR, IRR, and DSR, some organizations are interpreting this as the first step in completing a DSAR. Meaning, VCR is verifying the request that you received is from an actual data source in the system and not simply SPAM.

Regulations like the CCPA give individuals the right to request information about the way companies handle their personal information. A data subject makes his request via email, an online form, or another form of communication dictated by the guidelines of the law and the choice of the company. The company then needs to verify the requestor’s identity and existence within their database and track the request through to resolution. This process is required to be completed within 45 days to follow the compliance guidelines of CCPA.

DSAR Requests under CCPA Will Overwhelm Organizations

While the legislators in California who created CCPA may have thought complying with CCPA would be simple for organizations, they underestimated the cost and impact of the legislation. Considering all the moving parts in correctly operationalizing a DSAR, organizations have struggled to implement a viable solution.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that, by 2021, 80% of the negative financial impact of the CCPA will spiral from a failure to implement scalable processes to manage these requests unless they invest in a cost effective, automated solution.

Let’s walk through a simple bank transaction to understand the complexity of finding PII and matching it to the data subject.

Consider the following transaction:

  • A single bank transaction may get replicated across 100 systems or databases within a large bank.
  • Storage has become so inexpensive that enterprises have collected petabytes of data each year and have retained almost all of it in disparate databases.
  • Data is routinely propagated across the organizations to provide access to a wide variety of users for various business initiatives.

As we have found with many data governance exercises within organizations, the massive growth in data collection and proliferation has not been accompanied by an equally matched effort in data management and data governance. In other words, organizations don’t know where all the PII of customers resides in the systems and worse how to query the systems and databases to find it.

The consequences of not correctly identifying and governing the data have been painful as data breaches, misuse of PII, and a loss of consumer trust. In response, companies have poured resources into implementing security controls to block or restrict access to their data, however, whereas security is focused on who is using the data, privacy and CCPA is about how the data is being used and for what purpose. Until now, the basic data inventory or data governance process for many companies has been a manual one consisting of application data owner surveys and spreadsheets.

DSAR Requests will Force More Effective Data Governance

DSARs push the traditional manual process to its breaking point. Not only in people resources required to manually search those 100 systems in the bank example for each DSAR, but also in the accuracy and completeness required to be defensible with the regulators. It is a big data problem, and a new approach is needed to process petabytes of data, extract key data points, and derive the relationships between them.

Both GDPR and CCPA significantly increase the requirements on businesses regarding how they address individual rights and related requests (e.g., to access or delete personal information) – specifically the type of requests they need to address and the timeline and process they need to follow to fulfill the requests. For example, GDPR requires that requests be addressed within one month, CCPA within 45 days (with some exceptions and extensions permitted).

DSAR Requirements for CCPA Compliance

The California Attorney General’s office published regulations that provide guidance on complying with Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs), a critical feature of the CCPA that allows consumers the right to know what personal information:

  1. An organization has collected
  2. The categories of PII that have been collected (Birth Date, Social Security Number, Gender, ect.)
  3. Purpose of collecting the data
  4. With whom the data was shared outside of the organization
  5. Request deletion of their data
  6. Request the right to opt-out of the sale of their data.

The regulations require that an organization offer two methods for consumers to submit those requests, and one of those must reflect how the business primarily interacts with consumers (an online portal, a paper form, or a toll-free number, for example). Basically, the law was designed to make it easy for consumers to request their data.

Managing and Responding to DSARs

Organizations would be wise not to cut corners when it comes to complying with SAR requests. According to the ICO’s own official statistics, the mishandling of DSARs is the number one data protection issue the public is passionate about. In 2016, 42% of the 18,000+ data protection-related complaints lodged with the ICO concerned individuals’ rights to access their personal data held by organizations.

Any organization will need to have the following six capabilities to complying with DSAR’s accurately, cost-effectively, and at scale:

  1. Submittal Form Requests: Request forms should enable consumers to select from a series of well-defined choices to help determine who they are and what their request is. This makes it much easier to respond, route, and manage requests versus having general or vague requests.
  2. Automated Authentication: Organizations that have an established online account with their consumers can authenticate the requestor using PII that is already maintained by the business.
  3. Automate Search & Collection of Data: This will be the most time-consuming aspect of complying with CCPA for organizations that don’t invest in an intelligent, automated solution. Manual search involves finding the owners of the data in the organizations and then assembling the data manually from disparate databases or systems.
  4. Deletion: Organizations will be responsible to not only execute PII deletion requests from consumers, but also to verify across systems that none of the consumer's PII has been inadvertently retained, and to confirm as such with the consumer.
  5. Align PII Retention Requirements with Legal Issues: Legal hold requirements may impact a customer’s request to delete their data in some cases. Organizations are often required to retain purchase records that contain customer PII.
  6. Document & Maintain an Audit Log of All Steps & Timelines: This is both a requirement of CCPA and from a legal standpoint, the most effective way of verifying compliance and chain of custody.

These six requirements clearly illustrate the need for a PII data discovery solution that handles the DSAR process from beginning to end. The solution needs to do the hard work of scouring multiple and disparate systems for PII across the globe instantly and automatically. Further, the solution must document the relationship between data and consumer, assign owners of the PII and assets the DSAR submission, and operationalize and maintain the process securely as mishandling or the data or failure to redact certain PII will undoubtedly result in fines or legal action.

The Benefits of DSAR Automation

Until now, the organizations have been using data governance, data classification-based security, eDiscovery, and even digital forensic tools to find and manage PII. These products are designed to find keywords or PII in files, email, and databases relying on pattern magic, using Regular Expression, GREP, or other search functionality.

For use cases in compliance legislation like PCI or HIPAA where exact search criterion was available with only a limited volume of data and a small number of machines to scan, they solved the problem, however inefficiently. The tools that were used were too slow, complicated, and inefficient to handle privacy use cases like DSAR. Because eDiscovery and data classification tools are not geared to search dozens of systems for specific information like PII, they are generally not reliable at collecting personal information accurately and further have little ability to match the data to an individual.

Technology that automates the DSAR process within the mandated response timeframe offers workflows to help employees across an organization collaborate on locating data, and ultimately provide the data to the requesting user are critical to saving organizations time and money.

Key Takeaways

CCPA will add risk, costs, and inefficiencies to organizations that do not implement an automated, intelligent solution. Manually fulfilling DSAR’s is estimated to cost $1,400 per each request when organizations fulfill the customer request manually.

The keys to minimizing costs, maximizing efficiency, and eliminating risk are implementing a solution that will:

  1. Automate DSAR Management
  2. Secure Fulfillment of DSAR’s
  3. Continuous Monitoring and Tracking of Requests
  4. Automate PII Data Linking
  5. Monitor and Track Customer Consent
  6. Assess CCPA readiness
  7. Assess 3rd Party Compliance
  8. Map PII Data Flow

Intelligent solutions that leverage DSR Robotic Automation and Artificial Intelligence can empower a process and DSAR workflow that substantially reduces costs, eliminates errors, and provides a more seamless and engaging customer experience.

Next Steps

To learn more about benefits of DSAR automation, check out the following resources:

Organizations collect and store vast amounts of people’s data to provide services and enhance those over time. Consumers, on the other hand, are usually unaware of what data is being collected or used as long as continually improving services are being provided to them. CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) aims to give consumers more visibility, transparency, and control over their personal data. So, let's look at the four types of personal data under the CCPA, benefits of CCPA for consumers as well as organizations, the companies that fall under the ambit of CCPA, how they can comply and some key takeaways from this write-up.

What is Personal Information Under CCPA?

According to CCPA 1798.140(o)(1-2), "Information that identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household" is classified as personal information.

The term "information" can be either objective or subjective depending on the category. Examples of objective information are the results of a blood test or other medical records. Subjective information is usually collected by banks and insurance companies, for example, "Mr. X is a reliable borrower." This means that certain data does not need to be verified as accurate in order to be classified as personal information.

Personal data doesn't always take the form of names, addresses, and birthdates. It can also show up as images, audio clips, or other personal information if it fulfills the CCPA requirements.

Some key examples of information that CCPA considers to be personal data are:

  • Real Name
  • Alias
  • Postal Address
  • A Unique Personal Identifier
  • Online Identifier
  • Internet Protocol Address
  • Email Address
  • Account Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Driver's License Number
  • Passport Number

Personal data could also include inferences drawn from information, such as a consumer's preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes. These forms of data also fall into the category of personal data under the CCPA.
Recent amendments to the CCPA introduced in Assembly bill 874 add the qualifier  "reasonably," as in “...Information that identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household…”. This clarification can help in medical studies where large data sets are anonymized.

Characteristics of Personal Data under the CCPA

According to the CCPA definition, four requirements must be fulfilled for information to be deemed personal.

  1. Information That Identifies:

This requisite refers to information that clearly identifies a consumer or a household. This information could include a real name, social security number, and even an image of the person; these all constitute personal data under the CCPA.

  1. Information That Relates:

This requirement refers to information that does not identify a person or household by its content but by its purpose. For example, it is debated that information gathered through cookies or alternate tracking methods can be classed as personal information that relates to a consumer and becomes a part of a consumer's personal data.

  1. Information That Describes:

Information such as drug prescriptions, dosage, drug identification number, phone number and other information can be used to describe a consumer falls under the category of personal data  under the CCPA.

  1. Information That Can Be Reasonably Linked:

In company databases and software, internal systems may embed tracking to keep data organized. Although this tracking system may not have the intent of tracking individuals, the CCPA classes any information taken from this system about an individual as personal data.

Who Must Comply With the CCPA?

Now that we know what personal data is, enterprises need to know to whom the CCPA applies. There are two requirements that, when met, obligate an organization to comply with CCPA regulations:

1. The company collects personal data from California residents.

2. The company (or their parent company or a subsidiary) exceeds at least one of the three thresholds:

  • It has an annual gross revenue of at least $25 million.
  • It obtains personal information from at least 50,000 California households, and/or devices per year.
  • It obtains at least 50% of its annual revenue from selling consumers' personal information.

When a company fulfills these requirements, it must comply with the CCPA or deal with the repercussions.

Although this may seem like a narrow scope that excludes a lot of companies, experts have estimated that a potential 500,000 companies must comply with CCPA across the globe. This is mainly because of the financial and demographic weight of the state of California and its businesses. Whether an online business or working in the global market, chances are that an organization has interactions with at least some California resident

How will CCPA Benefit Consumers and Businesses?

CCPA is designed to give consumers more power over their personal data. The rights embodied in CCPA give consumers more control over their data than ever before.

1. Consumers have the right to access their data that is held by companies, for free, up to twice every year.

2. Consumers have the right to opt-out from companies selling their data. They can also require companies to delete their information.

3. If there is a security breach in the company and a consumer's personal data is stolen, the CCPA fines the enterprise up to $750 per incident. With the amount of records stored by companies, these fines could translate to millions if not billions of dollars per data breach.

4. For children under 16, there is a mandatory opt-in for data collection. This requirement helps protect the privacy of minors.

Overall, the CCPA grants transparency to consumers from companies. From now on, companies must be upfront about the data that they possess, and they cannot sell that data without consumer consent.

With customers' ability to opt-out of data collection, data selling is more restricted and  forces companies to collect their own data on a first-party basis. This strategy change means that companies  have more accurate data and must know the exact origin of their data. This original data can be used to improve marketing activities and target the people that are a company's core audience.

How can Companies Comply with the CCPA?

The following are some fundamental building blocks of a state-of-the-art CCPA compliance solution:

  • Automatic Personal Data Discovery & People Data Graph Building

A fundamental building block of a CCPA compliance solution should be to automatically gather personal data across a myriad of systems like private apps and databases, IaaS and SaaS platforms. However, a comprehensive compliance solution shouldn’t stop there. Another critical function would be to automatically map this data to individuals, enabling a “people data graph” to ensure complete automation and compliance.

  • Secure Privacy Portal

A secure privacy portal with a cybersecurity focus is critical to collect and fulfill requests in a secure environment. Essentially, this portal would function as a secure interface between users who are requesting access to their data, and your employees who are fulfilling these data requests.

  • Robotic Automation of Data Subject Access Requests

With CCPA going into effect, we can expect a rise in DSARs being received by enterprises. Since fulfilling them requires a comprehensive search across a myriad of systems, manual fulfillment can be ruled out as a practical solution. Intelligent robotic automation can not only significantly cut down on DSAR fulfilment costs, it can also substantially reduce fulfillment times. A CCPA compliance solution built on state-of-the-art robotic automation protocols can be a powerful tool for any business operating in a post-CCPA world.

  • Consent Lifecycle

Automatically tracking the consent lifecycle across users will help a business understand when consent was given, the purpose of collection of user data, and update systems when consent is enabled or retracted by a user. Automation can accelerate this process more cost-effectively, with greater accuracy and at greater scale when compared to manual processes.

  • Breach Management

In the event of a system breach, a state-of-the-art compliance solution should follow certain protocols to inform regulatory authorities and people whose data has been impacted. This is where the people data graph can be used to inform only those customers whose data has been affected rather than having to inform all customers, saving an organization time, money and effort.

  • Vendor Assessment Ratings

Since PI data is often shared with vendors to ensure delivery of continually improving services to customers, a best-in-class CCPA compliance solution should also be able to conduct vendor assessments and rate them based on the type of PI data shared with them, while maintaining records of each vendor assessment for future use.

  • Self Assessments

There should be automatic, routine self assessments across all internal systems being employed by a business to ensure they are compliant with the relevant data privacy regulations. The reports from these self assessments also need to be curated as well as automatically sent out to all relevant stakeholders to ensure continuous compliance with all relevant regulations. This is something that a CCPA compliance solution based on an advanced PrivacyOps framework would be able to provide.

  • Compliance Records

Finally, a comprehensive CCPA compliance solution needs to have a centrally-accessible, easy-to-find and easy-to-acquire repository of all compliance records. This will ensure faster processing of compliance checks by regulatory authorities.

Key Takeaways
  • CCPA was created to protect consumer data by giving them more control, visibility, and transparency of their data. This added layer of security improves how AdTech and Data brokerage firms store and process data to minimize the occurrence of data breaches, identity theft, and the misuse of PII (Personally Identifiable Information).  
  • The CCPA defines personal data as "information that identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household."
  • These regulations give consumers power over their data and what companies do with it.
  • Companies that comply with the CCPA tend to build a stronger trust-relation with their consumers.
  • Companies must have a proper framework set to comply with the CCPA and avoid lawsuits and fines.
Next Steps

Visit SECURITI.AI to learn about automating your operations and staying ahead of the pack by improving your policies and practices. Schedule a demo today and see how PrivacyOps automation and orchestration can help your business with CCPA compliance readiness.

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