What to know about automated compliance tools

Strict data privacy laws and ever-increasing amounts of enterprise data make maintaining compliance difficult for organizations. Because noncompliance can result in pretty severe penalties, whether that noncompliance is intentional or not, it should be avoided at all costs. Automated compliance tools can help with this by eliminating the risk of human error and streamlining processes to maintain and promote compliance.

What is automated compliance?

Compliance automation is a genre of software that can help business entities comply with a range of regulations relating to legal matters, industry-specific issues and security. Thus, compliance automation is a worthwhile investment for any company processing sensitive data, as sensitive data is highly regulated by laws that are strictly enforced.

What’s more, just as your organization will expand and collect more and more data, data privacy laws will inevitably change and strengthen as well. Automating data-processing tasks can help you remain compliant as both your organization and the privacy laws you’re subject to scale up.

What processes should be automated for compliance?

Typically, compliance automation tools automate workflows, so compliance-related tasks can be carried out sans human error. They also automate reporting, which includes documenting activity for auditing purposes and checking compliance status to highlight potential vulnerabilities. This is all possible as long as the tool first automates sensitive data discovery.

Nowadays, data gathers at rates that are impossible to keep up with manually. For organizations employing manual methods, there’s a huge risk of completely overlooking data. Without knowing you have it, you can’t protect it, and in turn, you risk noncompliance. A sensitive data finder locates all the structured and unstructured data within your organization so it can be classified based on its level of sensitivity, defined by the privacy laws it’s subject to and ultimately, used in workflows and reporting.

As your organization’s data increases, you can’t lose sight of any information or risk classifying it incorrectly. You also can’t risk having duplicate or inaccurate information, as this opens the door to vulnerabilities. Automating data discovery ensures it’s accurately found and sorted to ensure compliance.

How does automation make compliance easier to adhere to?

Data privacy laws have strict directives that must be followed in order to avoid hefty fines, but some can be especially difficult to maintain manually.

Enhanced data protection strategy

Knowing what data you have and where it lives allows for more granular protection. After sensitive data has been located, it can then be mapped to its regulatory category and classified accordingly (and automatically, of course) based on its level of sensitivity. From here, you’re able to implement the proper security measures to protect it, such as encrypting cloud-based data and designating authorization roles for on-premise access.

Overall, this improves reporting accuracy and simplifies adhering to other regulation requirements, such as data subject access requests.

Fulfill data subject access requests

A data subject access request (DSAR) is a written communication from a data subject to an organization that asks which of the subject’s personal data is being stored, why and with whom it is being shared. Consumers are entitled to DSARs, thanks to privacy legislation like the GDPR and CCPA, and organizations are obliged to respond in a timely manner (specifically, 45 days).

In order to fulfill DSARs and uphold compliance, organizations need automation tools capable of accurately locating a subject’s data and supporting efficient workflows for receiving, processing and completing requests without human error.

Timely data breach response

Many privacy regulations require data security threats to be reported in a timely manner and publicly disclosed so anyone affected can be vigilant of their personal information being misused.

Compliance automation makes all of the above possible. In the case of a breach, accurate activity documentation and reporting can help you quickly identify the source of a violation so you can prevent further damage and know where vulnerabilities exist to protect against future transgressions.

Start automating compliance by finding all sensitive data

Knowing where all sensitive data resides within your enterprise is the first step in complying with strict data privacy regulations. By implementing an automated compliance tool with this functionality, you’ll ensure your organization’s overall data compliance strategy is on the right track. Spirion’s Sensitive Data Finder automatically locates all personal data, both structured and unstructured, within your ever-expanding digital ecosystem so it meets even the most tedious of privacy regulation requirements (looking at you, DSARs) and ensures you remain compliant. Contact us today.