risk impact assessment

GDPR | Seers Article

The GDPR has provided a basis for carrying out a Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) as laid out in Article 35(7). It kicks off by providing a sequenced inventory of proposed data processing methods and purposes. The GDPR requests that concerned data subjects must be involved in every decision taken about the processing of their data and details of proposed measures to identify and remedy any perceived risks. Protecting personal data by complying with the GDPR will only be achieved by incorporating within an organisation, proactive measures to safeguard and protect data with certified and valid security mechanisms.

ICO Privacy Impact Assesment is the authority deals with ICO DPIA’s, which help you identify and minimise the data protection risk of a project.

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Best practice security policies

These will need to evolve and change continues to provide a high level of protection.

Such safeguards include:

  • Data by design
  • Regular auditing and testing network security
  • Security policies for physical and virtual equipment
  • Regular personnel training – your team must know how to correctly utilise security equipment, for example, firewalls and new security features.
  • Encryption
  • Anonymisation

Also, the Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) should contain a comprehensive list of the measures to be taken in the event of a breach of personal data. Ergo, a Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) should form an integral component of an organisation’s policies and procedures where there is a real risk to the rights and privacies of data subjects whose data is stored and processed by that organisation.

✓ Data Processing Impact Assessment Mandatory

A DPIA will be mandatory in cases where organisations embark on certain types of processing, including:

  • Large-scale processing
  • Monitoring and Analysing
  • Automated decision making and Profiling
  • Vulnerable data subjects
  • Transfers of data outside the EU
  • Processing of sensitive data

There are a handy list and a guided checklist for organisations on the ICO Website that organisations should refer to when formulating their DPIA. Situations, in which a Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) would not be imperative, is where it is saved to be a less risky or where organisations have already started and carried out a DPIA in a similar but different context, or to comply with legal obligations.

Managing Risk

Managing risk is a critical process for organisations, who will need to focus on what the risks are and the resulting impact on, not only the rights of the individual but also the organisation itself is the result of a data breach.


Data Processing Impact AssessmentBenefits of incorporating a rigid risk assessment policy

The organisation will benefit from an enhanced reputation, resulting in being attractive to customers, to be more efficient to be able to deliver quality goods and services and also be compliant with other legal obligations to prevent other commercial risks such as fraud. Clients, employees, and customers will benefit from improved GDPR data protection and privacy.

Society will enjoy the benefit in a broader sense as services will be delivered with greater efficiency, transparency, and fairness along with guarding against cyber-attacks, fraud, file sharing, piracy, computer viruses, spam, email hacking etc. While there is no set definition of the concept of “risk” the GDPR has provided some guidance to be interpreted by organisations as to what they may qualify or conclude to be a risk to the privacy of individuals.

However, the purpose of implementing a risk assessment policy, and the main focus of the GDPR is that any adverse risk to individuals is reduced as much as reasonably possible using reasonable and practicable controls and systems such as best practice management and technology. Types of risks that need preventing or minimising would be

  • Financial loss
  • Physical threats or injuries
  • Discrimination
  • Identity theft
  • Leaking of confidential information
  • Damage to reputation
  • Intrusion into private life

Other risks may be included in the list, such as societal risks but this category would need some further guidance to clarify their meanings in the context of GDPR compliance and to assist organisations with carrying out and implementing their important risk analyses.

Lead Supervisory Authority

Data controllers and processors who discover that the processing carried out by their organisation will result in a high risk of harm in the event of a data breach will need to consult their appointed lead supervisory authority (LSA) who will have responsibility for dealing with this type of data processing activity.

Consultation has to be carried out prior to any data processing with the data controller providing detailed information as to the accountabilities of the organisation in reference to the purposes and mechanisms of the processing to be taken out, measures for safeguarding and protecting the personal data and contact information for the GDPR Data Protection Officer, (DPO).

The LSA will also want to know how a Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) will be incorporated into the processing operation, how this will be overseen and by whom. Typically, the DPO will have the role of supervising the Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) incorporation and will be responsible for identifying:

  • At what point the processing is expected to bring about a risk to the data
  • Details of the duties and responsibilities of the DPO
  • Regular and systematic assessments of the planned processing
  • Establishing the risks
  • Listing necessary measures to mitigate such risks
  • Putting together a system and planned measures to assure compliance

Other detailed GDPR data protection issues to be incorporated and provided to the LSA will be:

  • The origin of the data
  • The procedures of processing
  • Location of processing
  • Applicable stakeholders
  • Processing methods used for deletion and anonymisation

Finally, the organisation, alongside all the relevant bodies such as stakeholders and DPOs, will formulate a strategy and plan for implementation.

The Data Processing Impact Assessment (DPIA) will form up a document (Data Protection Impact Assessment template) of the complete policies and procedures for locating the risky areas and together with detailed recommendations as to how to address and remedy each risk area by the use of a sco