Organizations are confronted not only by the constant threat of data breaches and cyber attacks but also by the looming risks of privacy violations and significant fines over how they collect and process personal data.
To ensure compliance with strict privacy regulations and protect sensitive data, organizations need to be aware of the state of their privacy program. Conducting privacy assessment plays a vital role in this process.
By evaluating your privacy program, you can gain a clear understanding of data practices, identify risks, and implement necessary changes.
However, companies can struggle with conducting an audit internally due to the lack of knowledge, resources, tools, staff, or even internal bias. And this is where external audits can be invaluable in building a robust privacy management program.
What is an external privacy audit?
An external privacy audit is an independent assessment conducted by an external auditor to evaluate privacy practices, compliance with privacy laws and regulations, and the effectiveness of a privacy program in your company.
The purpose of an external privacy audit is to provide an unbiased evaluation of an organization’s privacy program and identify any gaps or areas of improvement.
What is the scope of the audit?
During an external privacy audit, auditors usually review various aspects of an organization’s privacy program, including:
- policies and procedures,
- data handling practices,
- consent management,
- data protection measures,
- incident response protocols,
- data inventory,
- and records of processing activities.
They assess whether the organization’s privacy practices align with applicable privacy laws, regulations, and industry best practices.
The external privacy audit typically involves conducting interviews, reviewing documentation and records, analyzing systems and processes, and performing on-site visits, if necessary.
The auditors may also assess the organization’s privacy governance structure, training and awareness programs, and data breach response preparedness.
Leveraging the State-of-Privacy-Assessment (SOPA) Audit
Our State-of-Privacy-Assessment (SOPA) audit is an external independent audit that proved to be an invaluable tool to help organizations evaluate their compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from both an organizational and technical perspective.
The external nature of the SOPA audit brings objectivity and credibility to the assessment process.
As an independent auditor specialized in GDPR and data protection, we follow a well-established methodology based on industry standards and frameworks.
We understand the importance of data privacy and security. Our team of independent auditors, specialized in GDPR and data protection, use a well-established methodology based on the NIST Privacy Framework to conduct the SOPA audit.
This framework is designed to be flexible and adaptable to different organizations’ needs and can be used alongside other cybersecurity frameworks and best practices to create a comprehensive privacy and security program.
This ensures a thorough evaluation and provides organizations with reliable recommendations tailored to their specific needs.
Compliance Maturity Report
The SOPA audit generates a detailed GDPR compliance maturity report, offering valuable insights and recommendations to enhance data protection practices.
These recommendations focus on implementing effective organizational and technical security measures, as well as leveraging process automation, to ensure alignment with the latest data protection regulations.
Key Areas Covered in the SOPA Audit
The SOPA audit methodology focuses on eight areas of the NIST Privacy Framework, with categories and subcategories focused on the implementation of organizational and technical security measures. These areas include:
- Identify: Identifying and prioritizing data protection risks and requirements.
- Govern: Developing and implementing policies and procedures for managing data protection.
- Control: Implementing technical and non-technical controls to protect data privacy.
- Communicate: Ensuring that privacy policies and procedures are clearly communicated to stakeholders.
- Protect: Develop and implement appropriate data processing safeguards.
- Detect: Detecting and responding to privacy incidents and breaches.
- Respond: Responding to privacy incidents and breaches.
- Recover: Recovering from privacy incidents and breaches.
By conducting a SOPA audit, organizations can gain a better understanding of their data protection practices and identify areas for improvement.
This can help build trust with customers and stakeholders, demonstrating a commitment to GDPR compliance and data protection.
To sum it up
In conclusion, data privacy and protection are critical in today’s business world. Compliance with data protection regulations not only helps organizations avoid legal consequences but also builds trust with customers and stakeholders.