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Golden Path to Data Compliance Governance

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Golden Path to Data Compliance Governance - Helming data protection in a new organization
Golden Path to Data Compliance Governance - Helming data protection in a new organization

The significance of governance can never be overstated

Data compliance governance ensures that an organization adheres to relevant laws and regulations governing the collection, use, storage, and sharing of data. At the surface, it helps an organization understand and meet its legal obligations, reducing legal consequences for non-compliance. At a deeper level, Effective data compliance governance helps manage and mitigate the risks associated with data processing, contributing to maintaining data accuracy, reliability, and integrity. By demonstrating a commitment to data compliance, organizations can enhance their brand image and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Conversely, the absence of effective governance can expose organizations to data breaches, resulting in reputational damage and significant financial losses. The importance of data governance can not be overstated. However, when transitioning to a new job, many of us often find it challenging to discern how governance has been established within an intricate organization.

A survey that radiates school of thoughts

According to a recent research conducted by Privacy1, over 40% compliance officers prioritize

understanding the current compliance state as their first question when supporting a new

organization. This crucial inquiry allows them to gain valuable insights into the organization's adherence to regulatory requirements and assess any potential gaps or areas of improvement.

When taking a new DPO / Data compliance officer role, what is the first question that comes to your mind?
When taking a new DPO / Data compliance officer role, what is the first question that comes to your mind?

When it comes to understanding the current compliance status, our survey participants were not shy of insightful ideas. These ideas ignited a profound reflection on the original question posed and the subsequent answers we received, leading to the inception of this article - "Golden Path to Data Compliance Governance".

What are your steps to come to a good understanding of compliance status
What are your steps to come to a good understanding of compliance status

Medically speaking

Our brains have a natural tendency to create mental maps and frameworks to organize information and make sense of the world around us. It allows us to form a mental representation of a thing, its components, and their relationships. In other words, this cognitive mapping helps us understand the big picture and aids in deeper comprehension.

Legally speaking

To establish a solid foundation for serving a new organization's data compliance work, it is crucial to abstract the concept of a big picture and its deeper comprehension. This involves generating a bird's-eye view and a 360-degree view of the organization's data compliance landscape.

A bird’s-eye view will give you the comprehensive understanding that encompasses the entirety of the data compliance work in an organization whereas a 360-degree view allows you to perceive the broader context, assess interdependencies, and gain insights into the various dimensions of data compliance. Ultimately, this approach equips you with the knowledge and perspective necessary to navigate the complexities of data compliance and effectively fulfill the organization's compliance requirements.

A bird’s-eye view so 🪶 or 🪪 ?

Now that we have developed our two-step theory from our experiment, our next phase is to determine how to initiate the practical implementation. To our lawyer friends or compliance officers, fortunately, you don't need to grow feathers or acquire a pilot's license to obtain a bird's-eye view. Experienced professionals from data authorities and standardization organizations have developed comprehensive privacy guidelines and data protection frameworks that comply with various jurisdictions and regulations. Just to mention a few:

  • ISO 27701 privacy information management guideline

  • Information Commissioner’s Office accountability framework,

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (2020) Privacy Framework,

  • NEN 7510 Information security management in healthcare

These frameworks offer invaluable guidance and established standards that can shape your organization's data compliance program, ensuring alignment with recognized privacy practices. However, it's important to note that these frameworks are powerful tools, but they may not perfectly align with every aspect of your organization's data processing practices. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly understand your business, products, and services in conjunction with the regulatory requirements. By combining this knowledge, you can effectively tailor and implement the frameworks to suit your specific needs, maximizing their effectiveness in achieving data compliance.

Frequently, it is necessary to assess the specific goals and priorities of the organization concerning privacy and data protection. In some cases, it may be advantageous to customize an existing framework to align with the unique needs of your organization. For instance, if your organization deals with sensitive personal data, you might prioritize frameworks that emphasize internal security controls and stringent data sharing principles. By considering these factors, you can tailor the framework to effectively address your organization's specific requirements and ensure a strong foundation for privacy and data protection.

A 360-degree view so 🔭 and 🧭 ?

We are delighted with the meticulously adopted and customized frameworks that cater to the unique requirements of our organization. As we forge ahead, the subsequent pivotal step involves execution. Equipping ourselves with the appropriate tools is vital to successfully establish a comprehensive view of our data landscape. Similar to a trustworthy compass, the right tool for achieving a 360-degree perspective empowers us to navigate and explore the intricacies of our organization's data. It facilitates seamless data collection, integration, analysis, and visualization, providing us a comprehensive understanding of our compliance maturity and the progress achieved at regular intervals based on your designated timeline.

Furthermore, envision having a tool resembling a telescope, which grants you the ability to zoom in and gain precise insights into diverse data protection domains. This tool empowers us to scrutinize data processing activities from multiple perspectives, ensuring an all-encompassing understanding of our privacy practices. Some essential factors to facilitate this step include

  • Risk assessment

  • Level of effort required

  • Action plans

  • Designated individuals or teams

  • Task deadlines

Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the specific risks will aid in prioritizing compliance efforts and formulating precise action plans. These plans should encompass collaborative strategies among team members and establish clear deadlines for key tasks, ensuring steady progress towards the desired compliance goal.


We recommend establishing a process outlined below to serve as a crucial pathway to achieving a bird’s-eye view and a comprehensive 360-degree view of data compliance within your organization.

  1. Privacy framework customization: Tailor the privacy framework to align with your organization's specific requirements and compliance goals.

  2. Conduct assessment: Evaluate the current state of data compliance within your organization, including data collection, processing, storage, and security practices.

  3. Assess risk and efforts: Identify potential risks and challenges associated with data compliance and assess the level of effort required to address them effectively.

  4. Task assignment and deadlines: Assign responsibilities to individuals or teams, defining specific tasks and setting deadlines to ensure timely completion.

  5. Mitigations & actions: Implement necessary measures and actions to mitigate identified risks, improve data compliance practices, and align with privacy regulations.

  6. Advance compliance maturity: Continuously monitor and enhance data compliance practices, striving to achieve higher levels of compliance maturity over time.

  7. Auditing & reporting: Conduct regular audits to assess the effectiveness of data compliance measures and generate reports to document compliance status and progress.

Data governance co-pilot - Privacy Navigator

In this episode, we have unraveled the complexities of data governance. We have devised a practical two-phase theory and embraced valuable tools. However, you might be wondering what if there were a service that could fulfill all the steps we outlined in this article. The great news is that you don't need to start from scratch and reinvent the wheels. With Privacy1 as your trusted companion, your business can effortlessly tackle the data governance challenge with our Privacy Navigator service. Contact us to hear more about how to overcome your data governance challenge seamlessly with our user-friendly services.

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