GDPR Data Mapping: A How-To Guide
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April 18, 2022
Laws about data privacy and protection are only as good as the measures taken to enforce compliance. To increase accountability for businesses, GDPR Article 30 introduced new rules regarding how a company maintains records of processing activities (RoPAs).
We’ll dive into all of these questions in this blog and more.
GDPR introduced new terms and rules that set the bar for data privacy worldwide. RoPAs are just one way to ensure a business’s compliance with the Regulation’s standards. According to Article 30, “Each controller and, where applicable, the controller’s representative, shall maintain a record of processing activities under its responsibility.”
Think of your RoPA as a snapshot of your data processing practices. It’s a single document that outlines all of your business's data processing activities. Some examples of processing activities include HR, marketing, or third-party activities that process personal data.
While keeping records of processing activities is legally required by the GDPR for most businesses, it is also a helpful tool for self-auditing. Maintaining and understanding these records is essential for companies as they seek to identify processing risks. Once you know the risks, you can develop a plan to mitigate them.
If you’re wondering about RoPA meaning, GDPR answers all your questions. To clear up any confusion, consult Article 30. Record of processing activities guidelines will help you stay in compliance with the authorities and build trust among your clients.
All businesses with over 250 employees must keep a record of processing activities. Do you employ less than 250 people? Don’t stop reading yet.
You’re still required to maintain a RoPA if:
Your processing is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects.
You process data frequently.
You process special categories of personal data, including race, gender, sexuality, religion, and others.
You process personal data relating to criminal convictions and offenses.
Using these benchmarks, almost every organization is required to keep RoPAs.
Article 30 of the GDPR requires written records, including those written in electronic form. Electronic records are ideal because they allow businesses to easily add, remove, or amend information. Many companies choose to maintain their RoPAs using Microsoft Excel.
Not sure how to format your report? The French supervisory authority, the Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés, published an example of a RoPA in ODS format.
Additionally, data processors must maintain records on behalf of all data processed for the controller. This RoPA should include:
A RoPA should be easy-to-read and concise. Don’t muddy the report with additional information.
To comply with GDPR standards, your organization must keep your RoPAs up-to-date. Any time your procedures for processing information change, you should update your record of processing activities.
Your business may find it helpful to appoint a data protection officer (DPO) to spearhead your RoPA procedures. Doing this will protect against duplication of work and accidental omissions.
Article 30 states that all organizations legally required to keep RoPAs should be ready to present the record to supervisory authorities upon request. In case of an audit or in the aftermath of a data breach, supervisory authorities may ask you to submit additional evidence. Additional information may include records of consent, privacy policies, contracts, and other relevant data.
Maintaining a reliable and accurate record of the data you control and process is key to fulfilling the GDPR requirements for RoPAs. Information is spread across dozens or hundreds of systems in most organizations, making data mapping a near-impossible task.
Osano’s Data Discovery Platform detects, categorizes, and applies search functionality to your user data across every system. This AI and machine learning-driven platform accurately classifies over 70 types of personally identifiable information (PII) to save time and eliminate human error. Sign up for a demo or free trial today to see how Data Discovery makes compliance easy.
Writer at Osano
Writer at Osano
The Osano staff is a diverse team of free thinkers who enjoy working as part of a distributed team with the common goal of working to make a more transparent internet. Occasionally, the team writes under the pen name of our mascot, “Penny, the Privacy Pro.”
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