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GDPR and Vendor Risk Management

December 19, 2023

Navigating GDPR Compliance and Vendor Risk Management

In today’s digital age, our personal data is being collected, stored, and processed at an unprecedented rate. This has raised a myriad of concerns regarding data privacy and security. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was drafted to address these concerns. The GDPR is widely regarded as a milestone in data privacy regulation and is a set of rules that governs how personal data of individuals in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) can be collected, processed, and shared by organizations.

In this blog, we will delve into the broader implications of the GDPR on data privacy, key provisions of the legislation, and what the GDPR means for vendor risk management.

What Does the GDPR Mean for Data Privacy and What Are Key Provisions?

While the GDPR is legislation drafted by the EU, it has broader implications for data privacy globally. The GDPR applies to any organization that processes the personal data of individuals in the EU or EEA, regardless of where the organization is located or where the processing takes place.

This means that US businesses need to be compliant with the GDPR if they have customers, employees, partners, or suppliers in the EU or EEA. Even organizations that don’t have a customer or supplier footprint in the EU or EEA need to be educated on GDPR requirements and make sure they are compliant. If an organization uses cookies or other tracking technologies to track information on website visitors, they need to be compliant with GDPR provisions given it is possible for users in the EU or EEA to visit your website.

The consequences of non-compliance with the GDPR can be severe, with penalties of up to 4% of global revenue or 20 million euros.

The GDPR outlines several rights for individuals, including but not limited to:

  • Right to Access: Individuals can request a copy of the personal data being processed.
  • Right to Rectification: Individuals can have inaccurate personal data corrected.
  • Right to Erasure (“Right to be Forgotten”): Under certain conditions, individuals can request the deletion of their personal data.
  • Right to Restrict Processing: Individuals can ask companies to halt the processing of their personal data.
  • Right to Data Portability: Individuals can request a copy of their personal data in a machine-readable format to transfer to another service.
  • Right to Object: Individuals can object to the processing of their personal data for specific purposes, such as direct marketing.

The Importance of Vendor Risk Management in GDPR

Vendor risk management is a critical component of data privacy compliance because vendors play a pivotal role in the data lifecycle. As organizations increasingly rely on third-party vendors for various services—ranging from cloud storage solutions to customer relationship management tools—these vendors store and process vast amounts of personal and sensitive data.

Vendors create significant risk given their potential to compromise sensitive information of the organizations they work within the event of a breach. The magnitude of this risk is evident when considering that 60%+ of data breaches can be linked to third parties.

Given the role that third parties play in processing data, it is not surprising that the GDPR has several provisions related to vendor risk management. The GDPR introduces distinctions between data “controllers” and “processors”. The data controller refers to the enterprise and the data processor refers to third parties that have access to and process data. When working with third parties, GDPR states that:

  • “Controller shall use only processors providing sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures in such a manner that processing will meet the requirements of this Regulation and ensure the protection of the rights of the data subject.”

Organizations, referred to as the controllers, are ultimately accountable for the personal data they entrust to their vendors and may face legal actions, fines, or reputational damages if their vendors cause or contribute to a data breach or a violation of data subject rights.

To ensure compliance with the GDPR, an organization must enter into a written contract or other legal act with a data processor (third party). This contract should specify the subject matter, duration, nature, and purpose of the processing, the type of personal data and categories of data subjects involved, and the rights and obligations of both parties.

How ProcessBolt Can Help

ProcessBolt offers an AI-driven vendor risk management platform that can help organizations achieve GDPR compliance by:

  • AI-Driven Assessment Automation: Leverage our pre-built GDPR template to conduct internal assessments of your organization, as well as to assess third parties on GDPR compliance
  • Attack Surface Management: Monitor the internet-facing attack surface of your organizations and your vendors to identify security risks that could impact data privacy
  • AI-Driven Document Analysis: Leverage the latest generative AI technology to analyze contract provisions related to data privacy and to extract intelligence from corporate documentation to verify that company policies are compliant with GDPR requirements

Fill out the below form to learn how ProcessBolt can help you achieve GDPR compliance!

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