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Three Reasons Why You Need to “Know Your Data”

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As global startups and small businesses, we rely increasingly on technology and data in our daily operations. Thus, it’s crucial that we also pay attention to how we manage our data and ensure its privacy.

Achieving Privacy Accountability is only possible when you know your data well. To know your data, you are required to conduct two activities:

  • First, create a Data Inventory. A data inventory is a comprehensive list of what personal data you collect, from whom you order it, and how you use it.

  • Second, you can create a Data Map with your data inventory. A data map is a flowchart illustrating the movement and flow of all the personal data you collect inside your organization and outside your company with your third-party vendors. Data maps clearly show where the personal data comes from, who has access to it, how it’s stored, and where it gets sent.

In this article, I’ll discuss the three key reasons you need to “know your data” to build a robust privacy management program.

Compliance with Data Privacy Regulations

In today’s digital age, businesses need to be aware of and comply with many data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the privacy laws of many US states like California, Colorado, Virginia, Utah, and Connecticut.

These regulations are in place to protect consumers and their personal information, and failure to comply can result in hefty fines and a damaged reputation.

To comply with these regulations, you must have a solid understanding of what personal data you collect, where it comes from, and how you use and share it. This requires conducting a data inventory and data map of your data, which will help you identify areas where you need to improve your privacy management practices. You must also know what personal data is stored, who can access it, and how it moves across your company and to your third-party vendors.

Conducting data inventory and data mapping of your data is essential for your company because they tell you which jurisdictions you collect personal data and thus determine which privacy laws you must abide by.

Better Data Management and Security

Knowing your data means you’re better equipped to manage it effectively and securely. By conducting a data inventory and data map, you’ll have a clear overview of the types of data you collect, who has access to it, and where it’s stored. This information will help you to determine what measures you need to put in place to secure the data and prevent breaches.

Conducting data inventory and data mapping of your data is essential for your company because they help you improve internal personal data handling practices. They allow you to validate your legitimate purpose for collecting personal data. They also help you determine what measures to place to secure the data and prevent breaches.

For example, discover that sensitive personal data is stored in a cloud service that doesn’t meet industry security standards. You’ll be able to take steps to move it to a more secure location or encrypt it. Similarly, if you have too many people with sensitive data, you can restrict access to only those who need it.

Improved Customer Trust

Consumers today are more aware of their rights and the value of their personal data, and they want to know that businesses are taking their privacy seriously. By conducting a data inventory and data map, you’ll be able to demonstrate to your customers that you’re taking their privacy seriously and clearly understand what data you collect and how it’s used.

Showing your customers that you’re taking their privacy seriously will improve their trust in your business and build a stronger relationship with them. This, in turn, will help you to retain customers and attract new ones, leading to a more successful business in the long run.

Remember that you must maintain updated data inventories and maps whenever you add more data, acquire more customers and expand to other regions. Privacy accountability is only possible when you know your data.

In conclusion, “knowing your data” is crucial in building a robust privacy management program. Not only will it help you comply with regulations, but it will also help you build customer trust and transparency in your operations. If you’re not already sure where all of your data resides, now is the time to conduct a data inventory and map it out.

This process may seem daunting, but we promise it will be worth the effort in the long run. And if you need help getting started, our team of experts is always available to lend a hand.