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Published on April 19, 2021 AUTHOR - PRIVACY RESEARCH TEAM
With an increase in data breach incidents coupled with an increasing rise of data privacy regulations all across the globe, organizations are now required to revisit their privacy practices and strategies on how they handle their consumers’ personal data. The quest for better handling of consumers’ personal data is incomplete without a full understanding of a concept called “Data Discovery”.
Rehan Jalil, CEO Securiti, in his book titled "PrivacyOps: Automation & Orchestration for Privacy Compliance” defines data discovery as, “A system of cataloging the data collected by the organization, how that data is used, stored and processed, and how that data travels within and beyond the organization”.
In today’s digital world, almost every aspect of our lives revolves around personal data. From social media platforms to retailers, banks, and governments, almost all the services we use involve the collection and analysis of personal data. This can include your name, age, credit card number, postal address, IP address, social security number, driver’s license number, passport number, and more. These are all collected, analyzed, and most importantly, stored by organizations.
In most organizations, data catalogs and maps are hidden away in outdated spreadsheets and Powerpoint or Visio diagrams, making it impossible to bring clarity to this gigantic mesh of interconnected interfaces, systems, and processes. There are multiple data collection and processing elements combined with in-house and cloud-based application and storage infrastructure, with highly fluid data sharing and processing agreements in place. With more than 80% of enterprise workloads now moving to the cloud, organizations are finding it hard to document and track the flow of information within their vendor’s cloud infrastructure.
Data discovery enables organizations to build and maintain accurate records of personal data by discovering data across multiple structures and silos, analyzing it, and deriving meaningful conclusions. Data discovery refers to a collaborative documentation process that is centered around generating business value and helps organizations improve business decisions based on a deep analysis of consumers’ data.
In January 2012, the European Union realized that they needed to be prepared for the “digital age” which meant they needed to make a plan for data protection reforms all over the European Union. Almost four years later, the European Commission reached an agreement on what these reforms will involve and how they will be enforced.
The current EU data protection framework consisting of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and e-Privacy Directive applies to organizations in all member states of EU and has extraterritorial applicability, i.e. it applies to organizations that process personal data belonging to EU data subjects, whether or not the organization is situated in the EU. As a result, it has implications for businesses and individuals across Europe and beyond.
To remain compliant with the GDPR, organizations must process personal data only on one of the following legal bases:
Here are some of the steps that can help you manage personal data under the GDPR.
To comply with the GDPR and other global privacy laws, your data discovery tool must have the following basic functionalities.
The aforementioned data discovery functionalities and steps enable organizations to not only protect their consumer’s data following the applicable legal requirements but also to build trust with their consumers.
Data discovery can be done through automated methods to make it swift and efficient. That being said, before automation was a thing, data discovery still existed and organizations had manual and semi-automated methods of discovering this data. Here are some of the following ways organizations discover data:
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