What are Data Protection Audits? And Audit Perspectives
A data protection audit is a critical control measure to ensure that private information stored and handled within an organization is confidential.
Why has it been revealed as essential for most companies that carry out massive or risky processing of personal data? Then you can understand it with concrete arguments. Pay attention.
The Organic Law on Data Protection (LOPD) and its subsequent Development Regulation already represented the first specific regulation of these documents.
But you have to bear in mind, as all companies (even small and medium-sized ones) already do, that the substantial change has come hand in hand with the European Data Protection Regulation ( RGPD ).
This entered into force in May 2018 to harmonize the legislation on the matter of the Member States of the European Union and increases the guarantees related to privacy.
As each State must adapt its legislation to these directly applicable regulations at the end of 2018, the Organic Law on Data Protection and Guarantee of Digital Data was approved—also known as the new LOPD or LOPDGDD.
This regulation is the one that, above all others, the auditors will take into account when they dedicate themselves to guaranteeing compliance with article 96 of Royal Decree 1720/2007.
This is the obligation to carry out an internal and external audit every two years to ensure compliance with the law in the processing and storage of data.
On the other hand, it is not sanctioned for not carrying it out but for the loss and modification of information and unauthorized access. Not meeting the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) would also be grounds for sanction.
What are Data Protection Audits?
This is a verification process of the measures in place to ensure that data entry and maintenance, both manual and automated, are secure. Remember that these procedures are mandatory for organizations that handle data considered due to its associated risks, medium or high level.
In the following lines, you can check its contents. Take note.
– The defects found will be detailed.
– Likewise, the correction and improvement measures will outline the correction and improvement measures to be implemented.
– The controller or person in charge of data processing must collaborate fluidly with the auditor, at whose disposal sufficient analysis resources will be made available.
– These professional profiles of the company will be in charge of applying the measures recommended by the auditor.
– The auditors must also provide training to the workers on the staff regarding the protection of personal data and contribute to the recycling of their knowledge on the matter and their awareness of solidarity with the company.
The Two Critical Audit Perspectives
On the other hand, an audit of personal data collected by an organization is based on a strategy divided into two fundamental analyses. On the one hand, computer verification. On the other hand, the technique.
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Logically, an independent body must carry them out, such as the data above protection consultancy, which works on an outsourced basis.
Otherwise, if they were dealt with by any staff member, apart from the fact that they would not have the appropriate qualifications, they could deal with them without the necessary objectivity and impartiality and influence by internal and external factors that would undermine their work.
Computer risk analysis checks the privacy of the existing system and its protection through passwords, and backup copies will contain the privacy of the current system and its security through passwords and backup copies. Likewise, they will study how these mechanisms are put into practice and with what periodicity.
As for the technician, they will assess the systems to destroy the data and the protection related to access to both backup copies and files.
The Phases of these Audits
Finally, you are interested in knowing the sequence followed in all audit cases, even if the starting conditions vary. Keep reading.
1. Organization: Once the status of an organization’s data protection services has been verified, the first thing done is to establish objectives and the processes by which they will achieve them. In this aspect, factors such as the files to be verified, the employees who will have to be involved in each procedure, the systems to be corrected or implemented, and the programs and security measures will be controlled.
2. Programming and collecting information: This phase consists of setting a plan to manage the pertinent information, holding interviews with the employees, and carrying out the appropriate checks regarding the security systems.
3. Verify compliance with the new LOPD: The conclusions obtained in the planning and data collection phase will be verified and contrasted with the new data protection regulations in force articles. Failures will be detected and will prepare alternatives to deal with them.
4. Drafting of the report: The last part of the auditors’ work supposes presenting, to those who subcontracted them, a balance that informs of what problems they have verified and the proposed measures to face them. In this way, it will be possible to comply with data protection laws to avoid unwanted sanctions.
Just as the business management will have access to this report, it will be available to the AEPD. In a way, it will be the cover letter regarding the privacy of the organization’s data.
In short, a data protection audit guarantees a solution to the inconveniences in terms of risks and security that these pose for your company.
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