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New Technology Projects

5 Ways Legal Workflow Automation Empowers Data Protection

Kelli Negro |

The arrival of the GDPR ushers in a new era of mandated personal data rights and protections, as well as new potential liabilities. Guess what? Legal workflow automation can go a long way toward ensuring compliance and controlling those risks.

Whether you’re a small or large enterprise, you ought to have the GDPR on your mind. Especially since it kicked into implementation on May 25, regardless of whether or not marketers and businesses were ready for it (the short answer to that? “No.”)

Under the GDPR, data governance becomes a major priority. Legal preparedness has to be the first order of the day, in both avoiding legal pitfalls of GDPR and being ready to respond to litigation when (not if) it happens. The new regulation gives much more power to individuals than before, with precepts like “the right to be forgotten” and “the right to data portability” and the ability to submit subject access requests (SARs) being baked into it.

Legal workflow automation for data privacy protection GDPR

Companies can’t afford to lay back and let compliance risks happen when it comes to the GDPR. Legal workflow automation can be key to mitigating those risks, since it gives a legal department an opportunity to enforce compliant processes both within its own confines, and (as we saw in the case of NetApp) to promote those best practices elsewhere in the enterprise.

How? To follow the NetApp example, by being assiduous promoters of the benefits of legal workflow automation, and piggybacking compliance and risk management best practices on top of adoption by other teams and stakeholders, even outside counsel.

How workflow automation helps you be proactive in data protection

Legal workflow automation offers a number of effective ways to enforce data protection policies and security to meet the GDPR or other regulations – or simply avoid the embarrassment and brand damage arising from other privacy protection snafus. Yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Zuckerberg.

1. By embedding data privacy best practices

Policies and procedures for personal data protection no longer need to be relegated to a team memo or a poster tacked up in the break room. With workflow automation, they can be practically hardwired into approved, standardized workflow templates. These can be designed so users can’t access or futz with those workflow parameters, settings, assets or elements relating to privacy protection.

2. By integrating seamlessly for immediate data retrieval

Under the GDPR, in particular, people have to be able to access their data – and have it transferred or erased – without impediment. The ability to give customers access to their personal data is another place where an SaaS workflow automation solution that’s easily integrated with other platforms and databases is a godsend. Whether it’s stored in a legacy d-base or the Cloud won’t matter, and you can even store data redundantly in a variety of locations.

3. By proving compliance if there’s a data privacy challenge

Workflow automation systems that automatically archive workflows and their attached assets and documents ensure you’re able to rest easy – well, somewhat easy – if regulators come to call. Your autosaved audit trails can prove you’re being compliant in handling personal data, and a good LWFA system will automatically generate the reports and audit logs you need to back it up.

4. By getting down with really good governance

With the right workflow automation solution, managers will have extraordinary visibility into every process, empowering governance and PII protection like never before. Part of this? How they gain the ability to define role-based permissions and access for documents, assets, workflow stages (say, where sensitive data may be involved), or for any other facets of the process.

5. By allowing rapid-fire responsiveness

In the case of a GDPR, people are going to want to be removed from your database under their right to erasure. So by using an automated online form to accept their request, you can kick off a workflow that verifies their identity, triggers a purge of their personal data, and notifies them when it’s complete. The same hold trues if they use their right to be informed and want to view your privacy and data handling policies. The instant they ask, an automated workflow can email then the policy. Both times, you’re proving just how responsive, responsible, and sensitive to their concerns you are. That plays well with the public…and with regulators, too.