The Ultimate Guide to Buying Privacy Management Software

Part III of Series for Buying Privacy Compliance Software

Privacy compliance is becoming ever more challenging in today’s data-driven world. This is especially true if you are operating in multiple jurisdictions, have a privacy program that goes beyond a simple policy, or have complex or high volumes of privacy management activities.

When your privacy program must comply with multiple privacy laws and numerous regulators, as is the case with the GDPR, the job of ensuring privacy compliance becomes an even greater challenge. Research-based privacy compliance software can help.

Privacy compliance software is divided into three categories:

  1. Legal Research Software;
  2. Privacy Office Support Software; and
  3. Privacy Management Software.

Nymity recently published the 2018 Privacy Compliance Software Buyer’s Guide to give organizations a comprehensive overview of these three software types, and to assist them in choosing the solution that is right for them.

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In parts one and two of our three-part article series, we discussed legal research software and privacy office support software. Today, in the series conclusion, we will be taking an in-depth look at the third type of privacy compliance software: privacy management software.

Privacy management software helps you increase your efficiency and accuracy by automating complex or high volumes of privacy management activities, including privacy impact assessments (PIAs)/data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), data mapping/data inventory, and enterprise assessments.

The Evolution of Privacy Management Software

Privacy management software is not new to the marketplace, but recent innovations have taken it beyond the basic automated questionnaires with simple workflow elements and rudimentary reporting. With recent advancements in data visualizations, expert systems, business intelligence, and next generation reporting, privacy management software is so much more robust and useful.

When Is Privacy Management Software Required?

There are two factors to consider when deciding whether or not your office is ready for privacy management software. The software works best when a privacy program has already been deployed in an organization. Automation is required when:

1. Your privacy management activity volumes are high

If, for example, your organization conducts so many PIAs/DIAs per year that a simple spreadsheet is not viable, then using software can result in time and resource savings.

2. There is much complexity in your business processes

If you have varied types of processing activities, multiple locations of business, complex legal obligations, and/or high-risk technical processing, a good software solution can help. This is especially true for modern software solutions that have legal obligations built-in.

How Privacy Management Software Can Help

The responsibilities of the privacy office include building and maintaining an effective privacy program consisting of policies, procedures, and other mechanisms, sometimes referred to as governance. Privacy office support solutions assist the individuals who are responsible for these tasks, with:

  1. Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)/Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) Software if you need to automate PIAs/DPIAs.
  2. Data Mapping/Data Inventory Software if you need help managing your records of processing activities.
  3. Enterprise Assessment Software if you need to demonstrate accountability and/or compliance.

1. PIA/DPIA Software

PIAs and DPIAs are assessment tools that determine risk factors that need to be mitigated when performing certain privacy management tasks. Advances in PIA automation have led to new approaches that maximize efficiency and increase scalability. PIA and DPIA software typically includes the following basic functionality:

  • Questionnaires: Standardized questions which are sometimes based on publicly available PIAs from regulators and other authorities. Some questionnaires help determine the likelihood of high risk processing that would indicate the need for more questions to be asked.
  • Approval Process: A workflow where one or multiple individuals must approve an action based on risk and define actions that would need to be completed prior to approving a project.
  • Risk Identification: A process that identifies and predicts risk, generally at the question level and provides functionality to document and monitor mitigation strategies.


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