GDPR Audit for an Estonian Company

Being sure that your company complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in its processes, procedures and policies is a very important aspect in today’s business environment. GDPR audit serves to identify the risks and gaps within organizations’ internal systems and to offer recommendations to best close those gaps and mitigate any risks that are found, or which may become present in the future. Failure to comply with GDPR and infringements that go against the right to privacy can result in fines of €10 million, or 2% of your company’s worldwide annual income from the past financial year. Taking this into consideration is why proper external GDPR audits must be done regularly if your company operates in Estonia and/or elsewhere in the EU.

Regulatory Compliance Associates is eager, available, and open to discuss your requirements – please do not hesitate to reach out to us!

Benefits of a GDPR audit

Having your company undergo a GDPR audit has many internal benefits:

  • Helps to identify weaknesses in a company’s network that may be a threat to customer’s personal data
  • Helps to assess the company’s GDPR compliance to avoid hefty fines and penalties
  • Obtaining and sharing GDPR related knowledge for improvements and for future staff training
  • Informing and documenting the commitment of business owners to understand the value of data protection
  • Raising awareness about data protection and cybersecurity

After the execution of an audit, all businesses have reached better data protection and GDPR compliance practices. This in turn lowers the company’s risk levels for breaches and improves the customer experience.

How to Conduct a GDPR Compliance Audit for Your Company

Almost all businesses and organizations, whether they are located in or out of the EU, that deal with personal data of EU citizens should undertake regular GDPR audits since it came into force in 2018. Conducting GDPR compliance audits regularly for your company helps mitigate risks that come with the evolution of malware and hacking that is intended to scrape and steal sensitive information.

GDPR Standards

To start the assessment of whether your company is compliant to the GDPR or not, you must first be aware of the 6 general GDPR standards and principles that should be followed when processing data of EU citizens:

  1. Data minimization – Limit the purpose of data processing to what is necessary and adequate.
  2. Limitations on purpose of collection, processing, and storage — Process collected data only for the intended initial purpose.
  3. Accuracy of data – Keep all personal data accurate and up to date. When inaccurate, plan to correct the inaccuracies.
  4. Integrity and confidentiality – You must process personal data in such a way that guarantees privacy and security regarding their personal data and protecting it from breaches.
  5. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency – You must process all personal data according to the law and the company’s processing procedures must be transparent.
  6. Data storage limits – Store personal data only for as long as there is a need for it and delete it after a certain period.

Knowing these principles can give you a sign prior to conducting a GDPR audit if your company has the foundation for GDPR compliance in place. In case you are not aware of these standards nor the fact if they are followed, your company will have an even bigger impact from undergoing an external GDPR audit where the measures will be identified and put into place per your company’s needs and profile by an expert.

Outsourcing Your GDPR Audit to a Third-Party

Now, one of the most important things about GDPR audits is that it should be conducted by a third-party, who knows exactly what they are doing. Third-party audits are important because the association with the company at hand will not affect the analysis in any form which is important to get the best and the most accurate results.

However, this does not stop you from performing internal audits in case you have the in-house know-how and the needed resources. Internal audits can also be beneficial to prepare for an external review of your company’s compliance which can identify weaknesses that you might have missed and advice on how to correct them.

Preparing for an GDPR Audit

A GDPR audit’s length and capacity will depend on several aspects of your business like the scope of your company’s operations, the volume of data your company has and processes, and the type of data your company collets and stores.

In relation to the 6 principles we mentioned above, here are some basic things that you should follow and correct if needed:

  1. Documentation records of the types of data your business collects.
  2. Lower the number of data that your company collects to only data that is necessary.
  3. Documentation of how data moves within your company and where it is stored.
  4. Potential risk factors of personal data breaches.
  5. Documentation of policies and procedures about cases when data subjects request to have their data corrected or deleted.

By taking a closer look at these aspects of your compliance, you should already have a good base within your business to get better results and a better understanding once a GDPR expert looks at these systems.

Rules for Record-Keeping per the GDPR

One of the biggest parts of being compliant with the GDPR is having your documentation in order. As a result, the records which are needed to be kept by data controllers and their representatives are the following:

  • names and contact details of all data controllers
  • detailed description of data processing purposes
  • categories of processed personal data and data subjects
  • special categories of data (sensitive data)
  • existence of data transfers to third countries
  • existence of data of minors
  • periods for data retention
  • general overview of security measures implemented for data protection

You may not use the data that your company possesses for other purposes than those listed in the customer consent form, where the purpose should be described in detail. Also, your record must contain a list of recipients who do not need to be identified by name, however, it is good practice to do it.

Have RCA Conduct Your Company's GDPR Audit

After reading this article, we hope that you understand how important it is to have your GDPR compliance reviewed by a professional who knows exactly what to look for. Regulatory Compliance Associates offers a full GDPR audit service, where your company’s weaknesses are identified according to your company’s needs. We also offer Data Protection Officer (DPO) services so that your company has a professional looking after all the data protection needs your Estonian company may need.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you are interested in GDPR or DPO services!

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