Leading up to May 2018, many organizations used spreadsheets in order to get ready for GDPR. Reasons included lack of time, knowledge and budgets to invest in specific software for compliance work. Still, according to IAPP, more than 50% of organizations rely on spreadsheets as their primary software tool. But perhaps it’s time to leave spreadsheets behind.
When companies first prepared for GDPR, many were uncertain if they needed a specific compliance tool. Those who decided for a software often had a multitude of choices. But many were too expensive and time-consuming to implement. Perhaps then it’s not a big surprise that many turned to spreadsheets.
But now, as the “pre-craze-phase” for GDPR has passed, it’s important that companies who still use spreadsheets are aware of their shortcomings, and that they also expose themselves to high levels of risk. Spreadsheets are often improperly shared, stored, or protected. They are also prone to error, provide no chain of evidence and offer a poor audit trail. The consequences of not being in control of your data can be costly, both financially and when it comes to lost trust from consumers. There is also the efficiency factor. Does your compliance come with a high price – i.e. does your staff spend lots of time posting, editing, and reporting via spreadsheets? This is critical work, and it needs to be carried out in a cost effective way.
Check if you have outgrown spreadsheets
Organisations are under legal pressure to demonstrate control over their data. Spreadsheets may have worked when beginning a compliance process, in mapping out your data for example. But because privacy work must inevitably move from a single project to a program, managing it in a spreadsheet can be overwhelming.
Transferring to a more sophisticated tool can seem like a great leap, but it can also make a huge difference.
If your organisation still uses spreadsheets, ask yourselves these questions:
- Can you fulfil a subject access request in 30 days?
- Can you ensure your data is accurate and up-to-date?
- Is your data stored safely and securely from data breaches?
- Do you know exactly where certain data is?
If you’re uncertain, it might be time to leave spreadsheets behind.
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