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15.02.2024 | KPMG Law Insights

Data compliance management: How to implement it in practice

Part 3 of the article series “Professional tips for data compliance management”

 

The third part of this series of articles deals with data compliance management. Once a company has created a solid foundation in data categorization and developed an understanding of the data lifecycle, the question arises: How can practical implementation succeed?

Strategic orientation of data compliance management

To begin with, companies should define the strategic direction of data compliance management. This should be in line with the overarching corporate objectives and the specific compliance requirements. The corporate culture should recognize the value of data protection and compliance. For example, a financial services company could develop a strategy that aims to ensure compliance with GDPR and local data protection laws while providing innovative financial products. In any case, it is important that the strategy pursues clear, measurable and, above all, realistically achievable goals.

Tools and technologies for data compliance management

Companies need suitable tools and technologies to manage data efficiently. For example, data governance platforms can help to maintain an overview of the data landscape. Data protection management systems support compliance with data protection regulations. It is essential that no shadow structures are created wherever possible. It can therefore make sense to fall back on existing structures, even if they may not offer all the desired functionalities. The additional cost of implementing and networking a new solution should be carefully weighed up in these cases.

Cross-functional collaboration

When introducing data compliance management, close cooperation between legal, technical and operational teams is recommended. For example, an interdisciplinary team of legal, IT and compliance experts could be formed to develop a coherent strategy to meet the requirements of the legal requirements. The complexities in the area of data compliance are sometimes so pronounced that a specialist department alone may have difficulties keeping track of everything. Teamwork is the key to success.

Employees should be trained and sensitized

Companies should regularly train their employees in order to promote compliance-friendly behavior within the company. However, data protection training should not be the only measure, but should be supplemented by sensible awareness-raising measures and supported by management through words and deeds.

Outsourcing of data compliance management via managed services

It can make sense to hand over key operational parts of data compliance management to specialized providers that use Legal Managed Services (LMS). When selecting and engaging such a service provider, it is important to establish clear handover interfaces, defined roles and responsibilities as well as binding service level agreements (SLAs). These elements ensure that both the company and the service provider clearly understand the expectations and obligations.

Measurement and continuous improvement

Once data compliance management has been established, companies should monitor performance. To this end, they should develop maturity levels and key figures and present them clearly in the form of dashboards. Key figures are suitable, for example, for monitoring compliance with retention periods or for handling data leaks. Companies should also develop strategies for dealing with data breaches and other compliance issues. A central element of such a strategy is a well-thought-out incident response plan.

Conclusion

The practical implementation of data compliance management is an iterative process that requires strategic alignment, operational excellence and continuous improvement. With a well thought-out approach, companies can achieve their compliance goals and ensure sustainable data protection.

 

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