Standard Operating Procedures are things that a lot of younger companies and startups do not necessarily have. These are documents that clearly define a process, who is responsible for steps in the process, and where data and systems lie in the business landscape. It’s your step-by-step guide to routine operations of the business. These guides are absolutely necessary for data protection and can catapult your progress for compliance if done correctly.
Having a Uniform Approach
If you have multiple team members and distributed operations, you need to know that the teams and individuals are operating in the same manner. Part of data protection compliance is knowing the activities that you perform on data, having a different approach with each individual makes this a very difficult and time consuming exercise. If you have your activities mapped out in SOPs that everyone follows, suddenly it becomes quite simple.
Knowing Who is Responsible
Part of knowing the process is knowing who is responsible for each step in the process. This adds accountability and responsibility to your processes, and subsequently to your data protection obligations. Now this may not be named individuals, it may be teams or specific roles, the point is that you know who the custodian is of data in a particular workflow.
Knowing What Data is Where
Once you know how a process flows in your organisation, you are able to map how the data flows within that. You can track what data gets moved between teams, as well as geographic locations. These are both important parts of accountability within data protection regulation.
Knowing Where Things Can Go Wrong
When you have the above bases covered, it’s very easy to identify your high-risk processes and sensitive data flows, and put controls in place to mitigate the risks around these specifics. Without SOPs in place, this becomes fuzzy, and the regulator will not enjoy or entertain ignorance in knowing who was responsible for data in a particular process.
If you or your company needs assistance in complying with data protection regulation or in drawing up your SOPs, why not reach out to Ross G Saunders Consulting. Through our network of specialists, we provide end-to-end data protection solutions from small businesses to enterprise level customers.